(yes, I know that’s a line from The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”. It fit, and I’m in a hurry. Sorry!!)
This is going to need to be a super quick post, because I’m chin-deep in tasks that must be accomplished before I am allowed out of my cage tomorrow.
Alright, I’m kidding about the cage – but I really do have a lot to finish. You’d think the house could run itself for four or five days, but that’s not the case at all. Unfortunately, my husband is so used to me doing it all so that he can focus on his job, that he really isn’t going to be able to take over seamlessly during my absence. I’m just hoping the youngest makes it to school on time, isn’t left at school at the end of the day, and that no one (including the cats, dog & chickens), dies…which concerns me because at our last discussion, my husband said that feeding the chickens wasn’t his first priority, and that maybe I could just leave out enough food and water so they could manage until the weekend when he’d have time.
At some point, I’m going to use that last sentence in reference to something my husband needs for himself….so I’ve filed it away for later. Meanwhile, I’ve got things to do!!
I’d genuinely forgotten just how difficult it is for me to leave when school is in session – we homeschooled for so long that I grew accustomed to having flexibility. Yeah, not so much these days. This is the last time I’ll try to go anywhere during the school year, that is for sure. It isn’t easy when you don’t have support, and I really don’t have someone that can double for me around here.
Speaking of which, I need to remember to write down the schedule for feeding the animals…along with what to feed them!!
Moving on…tickets are printed, snacks have been bought, and I’m still working on laundry while I ask myself why I ever thought this was a good idea anyway. *sigh* Yes, it’s pretty much the same as normal around here. I’m pretty sure I’ll be reminded “why” tomorrow night as I cheer during (oh yes) “Hungry Like the Wolf”.
Welcome to Tuesday, or as I like to call it – two days before I leave for Palm Springs! I have a million items on my “to-do” list. I have a full-house of family. To top it off…we had no electricity from about 7am yesterday until about 1am today. Oh, and it’s also been about 100 degrees here during the day. So…yay?
It’s Travel Time!
I saw that some members of the band were already making their way to the west coast, or may already even be here, which is very exciting. It’s hard to believe the time has nearly arrived. I’m looking forward to seeing Amanda and my other friends this weekend!!
The thing is, and I think most will understand – I would swear it takes a super human effort to make it all happen sometimes. Getting out of here is going to be nuts. There are scheduling issues, I’m having to remind my husband of school start and dismissal times for my youngest, the chickens are something that my husband doesn’t not normally manage….and the laundry.
Oh….the laundry right now… ugh. Thanks PG&E for taking 18 hours to get our electricity back working. But hey, we’ve got power!!
Vegas Parties and Meet-ups!
Just a reminder that we are meeting for drinks in the Clique Bar on the first floor of the Cosmopolitan, both nights before the show. We’ll be there around 5pm, and everyone is welcome to join us. This is meant to be an informal, relaxing, and judgment-free gathering. If that’s something that appeals to you, and you’ve got time before the show, by all means come down and say hello. We’d love to hang out! There are snacks and small plates available at the. bar as well, which is one reason why we choose this place as our pre-show hangout in Vegas.
There is also a party hosted by other Duran fans taking place in the Chandelier Bar at 1pm on SATURDAY. We encourage everyone to do as much or as little as they’d like. The whole point is to meet people and have a blast!
Oh yes, there are several of us getting into Vegas on Friday afternoon that have decided to get together for early evening drinks. If you’re going to be in town early on Friday and don’t have plans – let me know!
Lastly… If anyone is still looking for Vegas tickets – I know of someone who may still have tickets available for 9/7 (Saturday) in Floor 4. Send me an email (email@example.com) and I’ll connect you.
Can’t Forget Palm Springs
I don’t know if anyone is headed to Palm Springs on Thursday, but I will be there along with my sister. Our schedule is pretty tight that day, given that we’re driving from the central coast to get there – but I’m hoping to see people before and/or after the show! We’re not staying at the Agua Caliente this time, but we’ll be around.
I’m off to spend some time with my sister and oldest daughter…and tackle the to-do list!
You know it’s bad when you distinctly remember seeing mention of a Kafe, even going so far as to comment on how you’re looking forward to hearing it….and then promptly forget about the entire thing. Welcome to my life.
Better late than never, I listened to the Kafe this morning, took detailed notes, and am ready to deliver the State of the Duraniverse for this month. Or last month. Whatever. Just remember that I make no assertion that my notes are complete – and the only way you’ll hear the entire thing for yourself is with a DDM membership!
Kennedy Space Center Show
Katy caught up with Simon on July 30th. He was presumably back at home in England after the excitement from the Kennedy Space Center show a couple of weeks earlier. They spoke a little about the show, beginning with Studio Drift and their drone installation for the concert. Simon explained that the drones were meant to look like starling murmurations (the way they gather and seem to suspend in midair). I’ve posted some videos of their performance during The Universe Alone – if you haven’t checked them out yet, you really should. Trust me, the video will send goosebumps up and down your arms, it is that good. Here’s some of just the beginning to give you an idea:
Simon also talked a little about the setlist, saying that they did a full “space” section including “The Universe Alone”, “Planet Earth”, “New Moon on Monday”, “Reach Up for the Sunrise”, “Astronaut” and a cover of The Police’s “Walking on the Moon”. He said that for himself, “Astronaut” was a high point because it hasn’t been played very often during the last few years, suggesting that it was due to it’s difficulty. (I’m just going to say that for a song that is tough to play, I think they do an outstanding job). He mentioned that while he didn’t think they’d play “Walking on the Moon” again, maybe…just maybe…”Astronaut” might find its way back into a set list. I hope so!
Another interesting, but not at all surprising, comment on the KSC performance was that Nick took the time to come up with the master plan for that evening. His nickname is The Controller, you know….
September shows, and mini tours
While Simon didn’t say much about the upcoming shows in September, he did say that these mini tours are very important to Duran Duran because it has been decided that they should never go more than three months without a live show – simply because (and I’m having to surmise this a little based on the conversation) John, Simon & Roger get out of practice with the physicality. If they don’t play live, I think it is probably difficult to maintain the stamina necessary to play a full set. Not that Nick doesn’t “glisten” back there on keyboards, but I think compared to John, Simon and Roger, he doesn’t have to move as much. Regardless, I’m going to applaud their commitment to live shows!
The New Album
With that in mind, according to Katy, after September they don’t have anything booked. Will they go back into the studio? Katy does her best to lead Simon into this line of questioning, and I have to say that the studio work MUST be going well because Simon doesn’t struggle before answering that it’s going really well. He says the new album is going great and that he needs to start “knuckling down” and coming up with some lyrics. He plans to get together with Erol Alkan to work.
Simon describes the new album as “quite a departure”, using the word “Experimental”. What I dearly appreciate most from Simon here though, is that he explains this by saying that for him – Rio was a mainstream album. The first album; however, was more experimental. Katy follows up by asking him to compare Astronaut and Paper Gods in the same terms, and Simon says that Paper Gods is far more experimental – but is quick to also say that this new album is a “completely different vibe”.
I don’t know about the rest of you reading – but I’m excited!! I can hardly wait to hear what they’ve been working on. From everything that Nick has said, along with what Simon has now mentioned, it sounds fantastic! As I said last month, I’m still finding it hard to believe they’re already at a point where they can talk about this album as though it is a tangible thing as opposed to more of a vague, undefined few things they’ve kicked around. It’s been four years as of September since Paper Gods has been released, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t felt like it’s been that long.
Perhaps a drink suggestion for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?
Katy ended the Kafe by asking Simon if he had a cocktail suggestion to share. Last year, Simon went into extraordinary detail, describing a cocktail that we should all try in order to properly capture the last few days of summer. I find myself in similar territory (as always) this year…so I was happy to get another suggestion that I plan to put into full use on Saturday!
Pimms No. 1 Cup
**as an aside: Simon couldn’t remember in the Kafe if it was called a No. 1 or a No. 2 cup. I looked it up, and it is a No. 1. Pimms made seven different products, all “fruit cups” differing in their base alcohol. The No. 1 cup is the most popular and is based on Gin. No. 2 was whisky, the original No. 3 was brandy (although now there’s a winter cup infused with orange peel and spices that is available seasonally), No. 4 was Rum, No. 5 was rye whisky, and No. 6 is vodka. Only 1, 3 (as the Winter Cup), and 6 are currently made.
Pour a “decent measure” of this over ice, top with ginger ale, along with a slice of lemon, mint, perhaps some orange, and a maraschino cherry.
Expect this as one of the drink suggestions for Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I mean….it’d be rude not to, right??
Today marks the beginning of a new school year in the Rivera house. As I type, I’m still trying to get my youngest up out of bed, and I haven’t even started on the boy yet. It’s his first day of his senior year (I still can’t quite grasp that). My oldest drove back to her apartment after spending the weekend here at home. I am still adjusting to the idea that she’s got her own place, and not-so-secretly I love it when she comes home on Friday nights! She started her fall semester a week ago. I would swear it was May only last week, and I’m not really ready to start this yet. (but I won’t tell the kids that!)
This next school year will bring big changes. Again. Last night I spent my evening editing and helping to rewrite a couple of essays for colleges. Last week we started the college application process. Gavin is going to major in Astrophysics. No, he doesn’t get it from me, that is for sure! On the other hand, my youngest starts with her singing “team” this week. We went from show choir being a casual once a week practice to this year where it will be twice a week (four hours practice) and Saturday performances. She’s still doing piano and soccer, and I am now down to one day of the week where I will not be doing the mommy-shuttle somewhere.
I am particularly pleased that as I get busier with my kids, Duran Duran is finishing their US tour. I was so worried that I’d have to miss seeing them this time. I definitely didn’t miss out. This week they do two dates in San Antonio, then two more in Oklahoma, and then they’re finished, at least for now. They’re talking about doing one more date on the east coast at some point before the end of the year, and I keep hearing that they have plans to go elsewhere in the world, but nothing confirmed and announced just yet.
While part of me is sad that I am likely finished planning trips to see Duran Duran for now, I’m also glad that it worked out as it did. I had the chance to see them more than a few times, both a year ago and then this summer. The only shadow cast over this tour was Nick’s absence. MNDR did a fantastic job stepping in for him, and I am forever grateful she did. My summer would have been a drastically different tale otherwise.
For the past few years now (yes, years), it seems that the rumor mill has turned constantly, rumors of this being the final tour keeping the wheel moving. Even Amanda and I have caught ourselves beginning sentences with, “Well, if this is the last…” I suppose we can’t help but not think about it occasionally. I wanted no regrets (I’ve since realized that no matter what I do, I’ll always want more). But as the tour went on, I wondered if this really would be the last. I mean, have you seen the band up there on that stage? They all genuinely look like they’re having the time of their lives. Do they really want that to end? And (somewhat) more importantly—are you really telling me that the last shows they do here in the US won’t include Nick? Well, I suppose if they come back before the end of the year Nick might be with them for the one date they’re hoping to do, but it still seems strange. You never know, I guess.
Since this tour was announced, I tried to make plans with the idea that this might be the last I see of the band as a whole. I went to a lot of shows—not as many as some—but certainly more than I’m used to doing. I traveled to Toronto so that I could see my friend Heather. I spent most of July with Amanda. We stayed at a couple of really nice hotels, one of which we’d always wondered about staying in, so we finally did it. Even as I did all of that, and stood mostly silent in front of the band as they’d segue from “Sunrise” to “New Moon on Monday” and I’d feel goosebumps on my arms and the hair stand up on the back of my neck each time, I wondered if it was really possible that this could be it.
As good as this tour and album cycle has been, it’s also been strange in its own way. The band doesn’t change their set list much. They’ve toured with Chic nearly the entire way….which isn’t really weird, it’s just different. They’re playing a lot of festivals. The show is very production-heavy. Nick wasn’t here for this leg. I don’t even know what happened to the promotion for this album.
It seemed like Warner went all-in at first, but then the release for “Pressure Off” was bizarre, and I don’t really care what the band’s PR says elsewhere—I’ve never once heard “Pressure Off” on the radio, so I don’t think you can call it a radio hit. And as far as other singles go, I wouldn’t know if there have even been any. I know there’s at least a video for “Last Night in the City”, but it’s never actually been released. I don’t know how Warner falls in with all of that, but I’d be remiss for not noticing the lack of…well…support in that sense.
As always, I’m left with questions. Amanda and I have often said that no matter how much we feel gets answered, there’s still more left unsaid.
Today is Labor Day here in the US, and it is the holiday that marks the end of summer, at least figuratively speaking. By now, most everyone is back in school—my kids start tomorrow, and a lot of resorts and tourist attractions begin cutting back on their hours after this weekend. This year, Duran Duran seemed to take over my summer since they were touring. Now as summer comes to an end, the lions share of their 2016 US tour is finished, with only a few more dates ahead.
I saw a comment from someone the other day as they mentioned the tour winding down. They said, among other things, that they were saying goodbye to people knowing that it might be years (if ever) before they see them again. I have to say that for me personally, it is the toughest part about being a Duran Duran fan. By FAR.
I’m not trying to speak for everyone else here, but at least part of me lives for the band’s tours. That isn’t just because I want to see John, Simon, Nick and Roger. In some ways, I wish it were that easy! I’ve made a lot of friends simply by traveling to see the band play. I recognize and know some of the people who work behind the scenes now. In turn, a few know my name and are kind enough to even call out to me in passing if I don’t notice them first.
I also have friends in various places around this country, and while I would love to say we all get together outside of Duran Duran tours, the truth is we don’t. When the band comes—and I mean this—it is like a family reunion. There is never enough time to sit with everyone and socialize. We’re running from gig to gig, we try our best to plan meet-ups and see people, but invariably we’re playing our own version of Beat the Clock, and we typically lose.
On that same thread, another fan mentioned that the Duran Duran shows are similar to theatre. As many know, my oldest has been involved in theatre and dance for many years and I’ve heard her say similar things, although she hasn’t been involved in a traveling show just yet . I can certainly see the similarities. The main difference, at least to me, is music.
Simon himself says that music transcends. I heartily agree. The sheer power of love found through music is unlike anything I’ve ever known or experienced. People continually ask me not only why I’m still a fan, but why I go to so many shows. They’re the two questions I get asked most often. (Along with, “How does your husband feel about that?”) People who are not fans don’t get it, but the band itself is only one piece. As all of you (should) know, I don’t know the band personally. I go to the shows, I have a blast, but then that little bit ends. After that, it’s really about the people I’ve met along the way. It is the hours I spend chatting before and after a show with people.
The most obvious example is of course Amanda. I don’t see her everyday, and now we’re not even finding time to Skype. My schedule has changed, she’s back in school teaching, and I don’t see her often since we live about 2,500 miles apart. We trade emails when we can, we talk on the phone when we find the time—which right now is impossible. So when we are together, we talk for hours. We get past the surface stuff, dig deep, agree, disagree, debate, and listen. I treasure that time.
I can think of about seventy more examples from this summer. We were in Vegas and had a meet-up at Eye Candy in Mandalay Bay. There was a small group of us sitting around a table when all of a sudden a friend of mine walked up. I hadn’t seen her since my days of driving up to Los Angeles to see Clear Static at the Key Club. In the amount of time that had passed I’d had a baby (who is now eight), lost my dad, she’d gotten married and unfortunately lost her husband, among many other things. I jumped up and ran to hug her. I had trouble holding back my emotion. After all, only the previous week had I just had to say goodbye to my mom’s friend, and knowing that she’d gone through what my mom went through….I was thrilled to see her. Only later did I sit back and really marvel at how different our lives are now, and yet the “Duran-thing” binds us.
I don’t know how long it will be before I see many of you again. I don’t know what the future holds for the band, or for any of us for that matter. I bonded with brand new friends summer, and had the opportunity to spend quality time with great friends I hadn’t seen in years. I continue to be spellbound that a band that I first began to listen to when I was no more than ten or eleven, brought me to this place. It is tough to say “See you later”, but I have high hopes that it won’t be long before I’m saying hello to many of you again.
We are in Paso Robles, California…and we just got back to our hotel room from the California MidState Fair. Duran Duran played to a packed crowd of 16,000 very friendly fans, and we had a TOTAL BLAST.
I kid you not, despite a set list that has not changed in I-don’t-even-know-when, we had a fantastic time. We laughed (I practically cried I laughed so hard), we sang along, we smiled until our cheeks hurt, and we can’t wait to do it all again.
But first, there might be a video.
Yes my friends, it is another video blog, lovingly recorded and prepared by Amanda and I. At over 23 minutes, it is not short, but we had a lot to say, and I’m fairly certain we didn’t cover everything we were supposed to cover. (It is late, I am tired, and quite possibly a little drunk. Good times!!)
So, we’re off to bed in search of sweet dreams before we head out at the crack of dawn in order to get to Vegas as early as possible. We have things to do, people!!!
After all of the years of seeing Duran Duran, I finally got a VIP package for the Camden New Jersey show! I had hoped for the front row with the back stage tour, but that sold out, so I was happy to get the 2nd row with the cocktail hour and a nice package in the mail.
The day arrived Thursday, and I left work early to get into the parking lot a head of time. Some folks were there tailgating and one fan was playing “Paper Gods”, so I shut my car off as that is what I had on.
The VIP cocktail hour was great. I met a fan, who like me, had a seat alone, and was it was also her first time doing all of this. I also saw a friend I have not seen in over 20 years, which was great!The food was actually good, with a vegetarian choice of a main dish. We also had a private restroom which came in handy later between Chic and Duran Duran!
I missed MNDR, my cousin saw her ( I did miss her not sitting with me as usual, she and her hubby were a bit further back) and said she did a good job DJ’ing dance music.
(ed note: we’re a little confused as to whether Tokimonsta or MNDR DJ’ed and/or played keyboards at this particular show. There have been a few pictures that seem to show Tokimonsta at the keyboards.)
Now, on to the show. I got to my seat as Chic was being announced. I was super excited to see there was no front row seat in front of my second row seat, and I was closer to the center than I thought; I wound up right in front of Dom when Duran came on.
I have to say, Nile R. and Chic blew me away!! I was surprised how many songs he wrote for various artists, and since he produced, “Let’s Dance” by Bowie, they played that as well! I was super excited when he smiled at me as I was one of the few folks there in my row! He really has a great smile. He mentioned his battle with cancer, and they did “Get Lucky” ; starting off slow, then getting into it! He dedicated it to folks who struggled with cancer as well. They had folks on stage from the audience for their last number “Good Times” and it was neat seeing children and seniors alike up there.
So next up, was of course Duran Duran. A security guard asked where I was siting when I crept up to the gate as close to the stage as you can get, and I was pleasantly surprised when he said since there was no front row seat in front of mine, I could stay there!
Most folks know the set list I am sure by now, so no surprise they opened with Paper Gods, which was fabulous! By “Hungry Like the Wolf” I had my chance to show Simon my sign, “Simon, you still got it!” This was the first time I made a sign and felt like a teenager. He strutted by, looked at it, and smiled at me. Well, I could end this review right here! Somewhere in cyberspace there is a photo of me with it—a photographer took a few of me, but I have no idea who he was with.
The energy of the band was incredible. Being in front of Dom was a treat, he smiles at you the whole time. Like most folks, I was sad Nick could not be there, but MNDR did a fine job, and did not do Nick’s bit on “The Reflex” but had us do that.
When Nile Rodgers took the stage, there was a tender moment with Simon as Simon said how they truly love him and they had a hug on stage. It was great seeing him play on stage with the band, and it was cool when he was next to Dom as the ladies near myself and I got another smile from him during “Pressure Off”.
I loved the “New Moon On Monday” thrown in with “Reach up for the Sunrise”. I can’t remember when I heard them play that last, so it was a treat.
The David Bowie tribute actually made me cry and seeing the beautiful photo of him on the screen was wonderful. Simon also threw a “Little Red Corvette” line at the end of “Save a Prayer” for Prince. That was also incredible, he talked about the horrible things going on in the world, telling us all to be optimists and have hope. Saying that if not, “the world will go to shit”. Right on, Simon!
Being a Philly girl, I loved the exchange Simon had us do with the Jersey folks, he would yell “New Jersey” , then “Philly “, then agreed we were all beautiful people. He then reminded folks that Philly was were Duran played “View to a Kill” live first at Live Aid. John also went on about Philly toward the end of the concert. Yay, Philly!!
Anna and Erin were great on vocals. The mike for Simon W.’s sax went in and out during Rio, so I felt bad for him there! This was when the beach balls came out; I did not see them at first; weird thing about being in front; after seeing video of the show, I realized that I did not see a lot of the light show type things as well. I got a shriveled up beach ball to take home to my kids thanks to a security guard. I also loved the confetti for “Pressure Off”. I had read a review of a show where they did not do this; maybe due to the venue? I am so glad they did it here, it was magical.
It really seemed like the band enjoyed themselves on stage. Simon really talked a lot to the crowd and joked around. I saw fans young and old—old as in older than me, so I was impressed, ha ha!! I love their new album, and so glad they are touring.
One thing I missed—they played nothing from the previous album, including the title track, “All You Need is Now”. I am assuming they really could not fit it in. I am not upset they are not shaking up the set list much as it was solid. Seeing them so many times, you usually hear something different every tour.
Oh, and lastly, for Rhonda and Amanda, JT did NOT have those track pants on, whew!
Eileen is a big fan of Duran Duran and Daily Duranie is so pleased that she agreed to share her review with us!!
Amanda and I decided to do two things for this blog today: talk about the tour, and go shopping.
As you can probably tell, we have taken our fashion cues directly from the masters. We figured that if we emulated them in the 80s with our white Capezio jazz shoes, fedoras and bleached bangs…why not go the full Monty with the delightfully colored lounge wear, also known as business attire. For them.
Granted, our choices are not exactly the same, but they never quite were in the 80’s. In fact, we highly encourage everyone to go out and find their own brightly colored lounge wear and send us your photos, whether to our gmail, our Facebook page, or even Twitter. We will gladly retweet them! (and if you only want to send your bottom half photo that’s fine too).
We want to take a second to apologize for the grainy, poor quality and bad lighting of the video. We’re working under “less than optimal” conditions! If you don’t quite get the references here on the blog or even in the video, you should probably go back and read the last few days of the blog. If you don’t think this is funny, well…we can’t help you. We’re too tired to even try! We know we look particularly haggard in the video, and after driving from Canada to Tinley Park, Illinois all in one day—we’re too tired to even care!
Ten days and counting until we get back together for the second half… (we’re going to use the time to properly cleanse the system for more!)
Thanks to everyone who was a part of this half of our tour. We really appreciate the support and kindness of everyone, whether you’re our friends, met us for the first time on this tour, or didn’t even know our names. Cheers!!
Rather than just sit down and type out my review of the show tonight in Detroit, Amanda and I agreed to do a video blog!! Keeping in mind that we’ve had a few vodka tonics and it was a long night…check out the video we recorded from our lovely room at the Hawthorn Suites in Auburn Hills, Michigan below!
We’re off to get some rest before we drive to Toronto tomorrow!!!
See you soon, Ms. Heather!!!!
-A & R
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!