Tag Archives: Duran Duran

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R

 

 

 

Question of the Day: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile

Which song do you like better:  My Own Way or My Antarctica?

Anaheim House Of Blues in 2001 – were you there?

Today marks a kind of special day for me in Duran history. I almost forgot it…but thanks to the spreadsheet that Amanda has painstakingly amassed, I was properly reminded.

On this date in 2001, Duran Duran played at the Anaheim House of Blues. Just a normal date, on a normal day, right? Yes, except that at  this show, my fandom was reawakened.

In 2001, I was a young mom of two very little kids. My son Gavin was barely two, and Heather was four. At the time, Duran Duran was about the furthest thing from my mind. My days were spent doing laundry, trying to make sure my kids didn’t kill one another (you think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not).

At the time, Walt and I had annual passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, and we spent many a weekend taking the kids to the parks. On one of those weekends, we were strolling through Downtown Disney, and Walt happened to notice that the marquee for the House of Blues announced an upcoming show for Duran Duran. He asked if I wanted to go and I laughed. That’s right, I laughed. I hadn’t really listened to Duran Duran in years. I still had all of their albums, and fond memories, but I was in the throes of Mommyhood. I didn’t love Medazzaland, and admittedly, I hadn’t even bought Pop Trash.  Walt looked at me pretty insistently, saying I needed a night out (which meant getting a sitter, and that seemed like so much work!), so I told him to go ahead and get them. I really wasn’t excited, but I figured I might as well go.

Yes, telling this story makes me laugh…and kind of embarrasses me at the same time. It was like I was a completely different person back then!

I really was.

The night of the show arrived, and we got to Downtown Disney early enough to grab dinner. That’s right, I didn’t insist on getting there at 5am to grab a good spot. We walked by the line of people waiting to get in — it wasn’t very long — and Walt asked if I wanted to go wait. I said “No way, I want to eat dinner! I don’t need to be up front!!”

Insanity, I tell you.

We got dinner, went in about twenty minutes before the show started, and I decided I didn’t want to stand on the floor. I ended up being by the stairs in the back. Plenty close enough for me, because I wasn’t a huge fan. I’d given that up years before, right? Before long the show started and Simon, Nick and Warren took the stage.  I remember thinking to myself how, after all these years, I was finally in what I could consider to be the same room with Simon and Nick. Not the same arena, but the same breathing space. I was only a matter of feet from them. Yeah, Warren was there too, but I convinced myself that if I just ignored that part of the stage, it wouldn’t matter. (Sorry Warren fans. I was reliving the Fab Five as a Fab Twosome) John and Roger’s absence were noted, and I wondered wistfully what it would have been like with them there, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts. I just lived and breathed the music that night.

I don’t remember much after that. I screamed, nearly cried and lost my mind.  Something happened during that show. Something deep, meaningful and visceral.  I remembered who I was before children, before getting married, before becoming whatever I was right then. I was reintroduced to the girl I once knew, and I really liked her.

That show was pivotal for me in so many ways. I can’t really talk about some of the things I’ve felt since then, or how that single show really woke me back up. I’m just thankful and filled with gratitude that I went. My life went from being pretty grey to complete Technicolor after that night. My husband didn’t realize what he’d done by insisting that I go with him to that show until it was far too late. I would imagine if he could, he’d go back and change that plan, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, that show saved me. I can’t even explain how or why—even for me, some things are just too private to blog about—but that show saved me.

I have a long, long way to go. But, I’ve reclaimed much along the way. I suppose in some way, I’m trusting the process (and what a process it is!). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am lucky. Yeah, I tease and joke about the band, and they drive me crazy at times—but I’m lucky I have this fandom.

I don’t know how many people think they grow out of something like this fandom, only to be reintroduced much later and jump back in with both feet. I did, and I’m not leaving. The Anaheim House of Blues on March 28, 2001 was a special night, I hope to never forget it.

-R

Question of the Day: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Yesterday’s winner (by one vote):  Lonely in Your Nightmare

Which song do you like better:  (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile or Michael You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For?

Don’t fake it when it comes to making money

One comment I’ve heard over and over about the band is that they probably laugh all the way to the bank. Yeah, some of us feel as though the shows are of good value at $300-400 (and sometimes more) for those great VIP seats, but I see plenty of comments otherwise, too.  Even I’ve had my “OK seriously guys, how much more cash do you need??” moments.

It’s hard. I love Duran Duran. YOU love Duran Duran. We want shows. We want to have great seats. We also need to eat, pay bills, send children to college, drive cars, and so on. While I know that there are plenty of other acts out there wanting $400 just to get in the door to the venue, much less sit near the front, I also know that it’s painful to buy more than a show at a time to see Duran Duran unless I don’t care where I sit.

Let me be clear: I CARE.  I care too much, as my husband might say.

It’s easy to throw an “off the cuff” comment out on Twitter or Facebook about how we’re paying for their retirement, or that we’ve paid for their kids’ boarding school. Naturally, most of those comments are made in jest. For instance, I realize it takes more than my dollars to buy a Picasso or an Aston Martin.  I often wondered what kind of mansions they all must own or the lives they must lead when they’re not on stage. Even as an adult, I didn’t start really considering their costs to actually operate until around the All You Need is Now tour.

It can’t be cheap.  Think about all of the people they’ve had work with the band. Those people don’t work for free. Timbaland, Mark Ronson, even Nile….all of them are in or have been in demand over the years. Collaborations, even with Janelle Monae or Lindsey Lohan, couldn’t have been for free. All of that studio time, the mixing, the engineering, mastering, etc… it all costs.

Then there’s the touring. Ah yes, the touring. When I was in England, I was surprised by how austere the touring was there compared to here. Many times, the band could (and did) travel from their home to where ever they were going to be. Here in the states, they use a private jet. That isn’t cheap at all even if the band gets a good deal. Here, they stay in pretty nice hotels, even if they put the crew up somewhere less expensive. Speaking of the crew – they pay all of those people, right? Everyone from the guy who has to take care of all that cabling (my worst freaking nightmare!) to the techs and beyond gets paid. Lighting, sound, audio/visual, and everyone in between get a pay check.  There’s also Dom, Anna, Erin and Simon W. to consider…. I’m fairly certain none of them donate their appearances for free!

Those things I’ve mentioned are merely a drop in the bucket. The minutia of touring, right down to the copying and printing that needs to be done, all takes money. Every last paper clip, button to be sewn, guitar string and costume, all takes money.

So, when I see that last year’s Paper Gods tour (2016 in case you’re unsure) grossed 16.1 million here in the states .I’m surprised, for a few reasons, actually.

First of all, according to Pollstar, who compiled a list of last year’s 200 top grossing tours (Duran Duran ranks at 74), the average ticket price to a DD show was $68. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my average ticket price was “slightly higher”…like about $300 a show, give or take.  As I said earlier on Twitter, the average ticket price for someone who doesn’t know much more than Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf was probably $68. For a die-hard fan? $300 if you want near the front.  I alternatively laugh and then cry…

Secondly, the band played 44 shows in 40 cities. That’s a lot. They grossed (that means before their costs), on average about $400,000 a show.  Not as much as I might have thought, really. (The band should not see this as an invitation to raise prices!) When you consider that figure is before anything else is paid – it becomes clear that no, this band isn’t really laughing all the way to the bank after all.

While I still feel fleeced from time to time – in a kind of a “Hey, congratulations Big Fan – you love us so much that you’re going to pay way more than others on average to sit near us” sort of way, it’s kind of the way things go. Demand. Demand, demand, demand. We want them, we’re going to pay for them. Welcome to Economics 101.  I can’t blame them for making a living, particularly when I do the math myself and realize they’re not making as much off of these shows as we might think. 16.2 million before paying all of the bills for things we know, and then the stuff we don’t even realize might not leave a lot….and I am sure they had to share some of that with Chic, too!! Sure, they’re making money. It’s their job in the same way that wrangling children and making copies is mine. I just happen to enjoy the fruits of labor an awful lot!

-R

 

Question of the Day: Monday, March 27, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  I Take the Dice

Which song do you like better:  Is There Something I Should Know or Lonely in Your Nightmare?

Ultimate Box Set Result: Part 3

Fans have been voting for a few weeks on the album tracks they think should be considered in an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  The first part consisted of the first three albums (1st album/Self-titled, Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger).  The next one included Notorious, Big Thing and Liberty.  This one focused on the albums before the reunion, including The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash.

After asking questions of fellow fans for years about Duran’s music, I feel like I have a good grasp on what the fans like and don’t like when it comes to Duran’s music.  Generally, fans ignore the albums of Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash, with some exceptions, of course.  Therefore, I didn’t have a clue as to which songs would be chosen from these four albums.  I thought that most of the songs might be from The Wedding Album, considering that it is more of a favorite than the rest.  Nonetheless, the results showed otherwise and provided me much fascination.

Top Songs from The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash:

  1. Love Voodoo
  2. None of the Above
  3. Big Bang Generation
  4. Pop Trash Movie
  5. Playing with Uranium
  6. Breath After Breath
  7. Sin of the City
  8. Watching the Detectives
  9. Mars Meets Venus

Analysis:

The first thing you might notice is that there are 9 songs as opposed to 7.  There were ties.  I am actually surprised that this hasn’t happened before.  Anyway, you also might notice that all 4 albums are represented in that list.  What caught my attention, though, was that song off of Thank You that was chosen was Watching the Detectives.  It wasn’t White Lines that they regularly play live or Perfect Day that Lou Reed claimed the band did a better job on the song than he did.  The other thing I noticed is that a lot of these songs had more of a mid-tempo rather than being  ballads or songs to rock out, too.

If you look at the complete results, you notice that almost all songs were chosen, at least once, with two exceptions.  Both Fragment and Kiss Goodbye were left voteless.  This is probably because they are short, little instrumentals.  That said, there were a number of songs that were only chosen once, including Shotgun, 911 Is a Joke, Success, and Silva Halo.

Status of Box Set:

So far, the fans have chosen the 7 singles that we recommend including on a box set.  Those are:

  1. Planet Earth
  2. Save a Prayer
  3. Ordinary World
  4. Girls on Film
  5. Pressure Off
  6. Rio
  7. New Moon on Monday

The album tracks that are in the running to be chosen are:

  • Friends of Mine
  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare
  • Anyone Out There
  • My Antarctica
  • American Science
  • A Matter of Feeling
  • Hold Me
  • The Edge of America
  • Palomino
  • Vertigo
  • Love Voodoo
  • None of the Above
  • Big Bang Generation
  • Pop Trash Movie
  • Playing with Uranium
  • Breath After Breath
  • Sin of the City
  • Watching the Detectives
  • Mars Meets Venus

This week, we finish picking the possible album tracks by asking people to pick 7 album tracks off of the four albums post reunion.  We would love, love, love for you to participate, if you haven’t yet.  Simply go here and vote for 7 songs that you think should be considered for a box set.  Next week, then, we will take the final vote on album tracks before we move on the rest of the box set (b-sides/demos, live tracks, side/solo project songs).

-A

Question of the Day: Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  I Don’t Want Your Love

Which song do you like better:  I Take the Dice or I Wanna Take You Higher?

Ultimate Box Set: Album Tracks Part 4

I cannot believe that I’m posting this blog so very late.  The day just got away from me.  I slept late, needing to catch up on sleep, then spent about 2 hours on the phone with my sister and niece.  They are coming to visit in a couple of weeks so that my niece can look at a nearby college.  Then, I had to run to a political meeting that lasted almost 4 hours!  Anyway, I apologize.

Last weekend, we paused on the Ultimate Box Set polls in order to cover the shows at Agua Caliente.  Now, that life is returning to boring, old normal, it is time to get back to it.  The idea behind this series of blogs is simple.  The fans are to vote on songs that they wish would be included on a Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set, if the band was to do something like this.  So far, the fans have chosen the 7 singles to be included on it.  Then, we picked 7 songs from the first three albums, then 7 songs off the next three album and lastly 7 more songs from the next four albums.  This week, I am asking fans to choose 7 songs from the 4 most recent albums.  These albums are the ones written and recorded after the reunion and include Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods.  Next week, then, we will take the winners of these album tracks and limit them to just 7 songs overall.  It should be a close and challenging vote.  Heck, I suspect this week will be tough.

Without any further ado, please vote on the 7 album tracks that you would like to see included on a Duran Duran Ultimate Box Set.

-A

Question of the Day: Saturday, March 25, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Friends of Mine

Which song do you like better:  Hold Me or I Don’t Want Your Love?