Tag Archives: Duran Duran

Everyone’s Their Own Universe

I’m taking a break from writing about shows that most people can’t get to in order to write a little about my friend Alana.

I first met Alana in 2012 when Amanda and I did several shows in the southeastern part of the US during the All You Need is Now tour. When I met her, I can remember that I loved her long hair. It was blond with dark undertones and even some peek-a-boo purple. She kept it straight with long layers, and it was exactly the type of hairstyle I’d want if I had the patience to let my hair grow. The next thing I remember about her from that first meeting were her glasses. They were similar to mine at the time (for reading), and I noticed she had more than one pair that she’d coordinate with her outfit, which I also thought was cool. Lastly, but most importantly – I remember how comfortable I was with her when we met. She is just a very real, genuinely nice person.

After that initial meeting, we stayed friends. I saw her at Durandemonium in 2013, and then again in 2015 at the Ravinia shows in Illinois. All the while, we’d tweet back and forth on Twitter. She has a sunny disposition, and even when she doesn’t have the best news, she has the uncanny ability to make anything sound like it’s just not that bad. I love that about her.

She’s been sick lately, and right now she’s in the hospital. I think it’s fair to say that she’s fighting for her life at this point. I traded tweets with her not that long ago, but before she was admitted into the hospital. She’s still positive that she and I are going to meet up at one of the DD shows on the next tour, and I’m still counting on it.

After hearing this recent news about my friend, it made presales, ticket buying and hand wringing over cost seem pretty silly. I went through the motions yesterday, thinking about how lucky I was to even have the choice to go. Alana doesn’t, at least not right now. In that sense, just buying the damn ticket feels right. On the other hand, spending so much to see one band for one show also makes me feel dumb. What am I thinking?

I kind of said that on Twitter yesterday. One can love Duran Duran, be thankful they tour here, and still feel like the shows are pricey, which I do. All of that said, I wish more than anything else right now that my friend Alana was healthy and able to go – for that, I’d pay just about anything to see.

-R

You Own the Money

…and then there are REALLY days.

Don’t monkey with my business

This morning, I got up and drove my youngest to school – which is about 15 minutes from our house. Not bad. No traffic because we live in the middle of nowhere. Sort of.

All was fine at first, but as I was getting off the freeway I noticed my car suddenly shift gears at a weird time. Noting it, but not saying anything, I drove on, only to have it happen again after exiting the freeway. Still, I said nothing. I mean, why acknowledge the inevitable??

As I pulled into the school lot, I realized that the engine sounded a little weird, like it was revving the teeniest bit. I let Sabrina out, who broke the silence by saying “Good luck getting home, mom!” and then shut the door as if she was glad to be rid of the insanity. (I get that!)

Here’s one you don’t compromise

I started to pull around to exit the lot, and noticed it was still shifting weirdly. Pulled over and texted the husband (who of course is in Santa Barbara today – easily two hours away and in all-day meetings of the utmost importance, you know). He suggested I try to drive it home. “After all, what’s the worst that could happen? You get stuck. Oh well!”

Oh how I love that man. I really do. I reminded myself of that as I put the phone back down and started the car. I threw out a not-so-silent plea to my trusty car to “please, please just get me home”, and left the lot. At first, it was fine. Should I get on the highway (freeway if you’re from CA)? Sure. Why not?!? After all, what’s the worst that could happen???

I could miss the Duran Duran presales. Amanda was counting on me for our Sunday night tickets. Gotta get home. “Please, please just get me home, car!”

I heard your promise

It made it off the freeway. Yeah, it may have limped for the final quarter of a mile, but it got me off the freeway. Then for the 1 mile drive to my neighborhood. It started shifting strangely more and more often, and I feverishly started noticing that my engine was revving quite a bit. EEK. Do I pull over or just chance fate?

I kept going. I had presales to do in less than an hour.

Kind of mostly coasted down the hill to the entrance of my neighborhood. I didn’t need the gears to shift if I didn’t press on the gas, right?? Turned the corner onto my street (but still had to drive about 2/3 of a mile up the twisty-turns to get to my gate). Uphill… uphill was a problem. My car started not wanting to go into any gear, and revving wildly, then catching the gear and going. I figured if I could just keep this up, I’d get it to the top of my drive, and then coast down.

What was the worst that could happen? I had 45 minutes to presales, and there’s literally no shoulders to park on in my neighborhood.

Fight it out

I rounded the next to last corner before my gate. I saw it – waiting for me just to get the car up there. Just a little more gas to get me up the hill. Then nothing. No gear. No moving forward. Just backward. So I stop the car on our narrow two-lane road and realize I’m screwed. What do I do?

Well, one of my neighbors, whom I’ve never met, was out walking. She saw me and between the two of us, we got my car onto the expanse of “grass” between the neighbors driveway entrance and mine – the ONE spot in my entire neighborhood that actually has a bit of a shoulder area. (I use that term lightly because right now, it’s brush season and there’s no green anyway. It is brown.)

My car is safe. I’m safe. My car literally got me *almost* home. I ran up to my fence, got inside and walked down our driveway just in time for presales. I was frantic. Panicked. A little emotional, and pretty freaked out. I had no idea how I was going to pick up my youngest or what I’d do with my car, but I was at home in time for presales.

Not wild about it

At this point, I didn’t even want the damn tickets. My stomach was nauseous and I was busy calculating the cost of a new transmission in my head. (Spoiler: it is a lot.) I figured I’d just try for tickets and if nothing came up, that’s the way it is, and oh well.

When the clock struck ten and I was able to get onto Ticketmaster (I was buying for Sunday night in Vegas first), it was weird. Nothing came up as available, and I mean nothing. I was perplexed, a little annoyed, but oddly calm. I refreshed the best seats option a few times, and suddenly – seats started coming up.

Then I started looking at the final cost. $440ish total for a gold package ticket. That stung a bit, particularly when I consider that at least based on previous gigs this year, the band is going to do a 90-minute show and then an encore. I thought about it, checked ticketing prices for Mtn Winery, and decided that no, I wouldn’t do more than Vegas after all.

Lay your seedy judgments

I could have done ALL the shows. I had the ok from my husband – because we consult one another when we’re doing stuff like this – and the time worked for me. When it came down to it, I realized that for me, this is my breaking point. I am not going to continue paying nearly $450 a show to see Duran Duran – particularly for multiple shows each tour. That’s insanity.

I love this band. There’s no need for me to prove that to anybody. I do, however, need to retire at some point. College is expensive and I’m not finished paying for my kids education. Now, I’ve got some sort of a crazy car expense coming up. I had more than enough money in the bank to pay for tickets to all of the shows. That isn’t the point. It is that I think it is crazy for me to spend that much money.

Now, I’m sure some are saying, “You don’t have to go for gold!” You’re 100% correct. I don’t, and I didn’t, when I checked into other venues after buying the Vegas tickets. There’s just something very off-putting over paying what will amount to nearly $150 (ticket price + fees) to sit in the extreme back of a venue. I’m not spoiled about being in front, but I’m also not crazy enough to think I’d enjoy being in the very back. For many other bands yes, but not DD.

You pay the profits to justify your reasons

So there you go. I’ve seen so many people talk about the prices this morning. Far more than normal. Many have complained about the Ultimate Front Row package not including a meet and greet for $1000. Others complain about the fact that even front row at the Hollywood Bowl was “just” $600. My answer? The only reason the band and venue can charge this much is because people have no problem paying the price. Supply vs. demand. New transmissions, Duran Duran, and college. These are real problems. <grin>

I bought for the two Vegas shows out of the five dates I’d originally planned to buy. I feel good about my decision, and can’t wait to see friends in Vegas. What did you do?

-R

Nothing’s Going to Bring Me Down

There are days, and then there are DAYS. This is one of the latter. It might even be one of those weeks!

They can drag me to the gates of hell now

As I’ve exclaimed many times while in the privacy of my own home, “I am not a webmaster!!” When technical abilities were being passed out, I got in the wrong line. (The universe only knows what “special” skill I ended up with instead!) I’d been getting some sort of PHP warning on this site for months and ignored it. When I finally clicked on it to find out more information, our server host said we didn’t “need” the upgrade. Well, turns out – we did. The site never went down, but we also couldn’t update as necessary. I was growing nervous that one day, I’d be woken up at 4am by a concerned Amanda telling me that the site wouldn’t load.

So today was the day to figure out how to upgrade (and why). I’m still not exactly sure I understand, but the fix was a five-minute thing. From what I can tell – I didn’t break anything in the process. I even loaded a plug-in for compatibility testing on the backend, and even forced the site to break to see if I could fix it. (one click to correct it!) So that’s the kind of maintenance crap no one sees. It makes me feel a little better when I find out that I’m not nearly as incompetent as I think I might be with this stuff.

Then again, there’s still the issue of archiving. After nearly nine years of blogging (yes, nine) – we have a lot of posts. I am pretty sure the place needs a good spring/summer cleaning. (also a massive site overhaul in time for the next whatever-the-music-they-are-currently-working-on-is-going-to-be). As soon as my youngest is out of school and my mom, who is arriving tonight for a two-week visit, is back home – that’s the next project. I’ll have to take the site down to do it, but I’ll warn everyone first!

I’m not running away (yet, anyway)

Meanwhile, presales are tomorrow! I’m still trying to figure out the logistics. I have a reasonable idea of what shows I want to do (A & I are both going to Vegas, but after that – I’m on my own and I’m not entirely positive of what I’m doing), but whether I’m going to attempt to break my bank and buy gold or just do regular tickets to some – who really knows?! It’s going to be an adventure tomorrow morning. My poor mother has never seen a DD presale day. Chances are, after hearing me attempt to go through the process, she’ll want to wash my mouth out with soap!!

Honestly, right now I’m trying not to stress. I’m taking the attitude that whatever will be, will be. As long as I get in the venue(s), that’s enough. I have a couple of other, more pressing personal family things going on at the moment, and while I don’t want to miss the chance to hang with friends – I’m more worried about the other life stuff. I hate being “that” person to say that, but it’s true. Someday, I’ll write a book about all of it and then you’ll know what I mean. <big grin here> Nonetheless, I’ll see everyone in Vegas for sure, and possibly one or two of the others. For those shows though, I don’t think I’ll be trying for anything but just regular tickets. Probably. Unless I win the lottery by tomorrow morning.

It’s funny—I ran into Dom after the last shows in Vegas, and he asked me where I’d sat because I’m usually closer to the front. On one hand, I guess he’s right, and on the other – I think that was probably a sign that maybe, just maybe, I’ve been to one too many shows over the years! Joking aside, I get the feeling these guys have no idea how much it costs to sit near the front at their shows. Granted, I’m usually a bit closer than I was in February, but that’s Vegas (and Lady Luck, apparently!) for you. Our seats weren’t that great last time. We still had a fantastic time, though.

I’m not the only one feeling this way

Like many of you, my bank account is not without limits. I saw more than one fan comment about the expense of the tickets yesterday, and I just want to commiserate. They ARE expensive. Most tickets are these days, and at least in my case – it stops me from going to see a lot of bands. I have to really love them to be willing to spend money on tickets. On the other hand, I’ve discovered quite a few really good, but far less popular local bands over the past few years as a result. I still see a lot of live shows, but maybe not as many bands that other people recognize. I save my budget for a few very favorite, or I buy super cheap seats.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Duran Duran and I love going to the shows, but I’m not going to be paying $1000 a ticket just to say I was in the front row. More power to those of you who are able to continually do it without thinking of the cost. I’ve had my turn up there a few times – it was great while it lasted.

A bit of a warning from me: the next couple of weeks may or may not be spotty for me – blogging wise. I am going to do what I can when I can. If anyone out there (ha!) has something they’d like to guest blog about, send it to our gmail (dailyduranie at gmail dot com) – we will gladly post and give you plenty of credit for contributing!

-R

Now I’m Lying Here Waiting: September 2019 US Shows

Here I am, I’m a dotted line

By now, you’ve likely heard that Duran Duran is coming back to the states this summer and doing additional dates surrounding the KAABOO Festival in Del Mar, California. (It’s a tiny little town just north of San Diego).

The additional shows are as follows:

September 7 & 8 at The Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada.

September 10 & 11 at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California.

September 13 at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s Casino, Nevada.

Cut the corner, stick me to your door

So, let’s just address the very large, pink-spotted elephant in the room and get it over with. Yes, they’re coming back to the west coast. Yep, this is the third time they’ve played Vegas, and not only Vegas but the same venue in the past 18 months. I know, I know, they’ve played America a lot lately. I am feeling like I need to apologize to the rest of the world, and yet these choices in places, dates, and venues have absolutely nothing to do with me personally. I just am a fan who can potentially reap the benefits (or deplete my bank account by purchasing tickets).

Obviously, these are business decisions. The band has mentioned before that they don’t have a lot of input with where they tour or play gigs. Somehow, I suspect that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier, and I have to respect that. I am ever hopeful that they play in other places besides Denmark, Iceland and the west coast of the US.

That said, could it be that this third set of shows at The Chelsea is Duran Duran’s version of a residency? In the past, Amanda and I have commented on the potential for Vegas residencies here on the blog. Many artists do them. Duran Duran is not one to blindly follow the current, instead – they do their own thing. Could it be that this is their idea of playing several shows in the same place without committing to the same venue and city for weeks on end? It’s not really a residency, but I have to ask – how often do you see artists playing the same venue three times over the course of a year and a half that aren’t playing residencies in some form or another? Food for thought.

I’m a man who stepped off the path

The other, slightly less obvious (?!) elephant has to do with ticket prices. I’ve seen many fans experiencing varying levels of sticker shock since yesterday. Here are the levels of VIP ticketing and pricing being offered:

There are three VIP packages available for these 5 concerts. Members can purchase a maximum of two (2) tickets per person for Las Vegas and four (4) tickets per person for Saratoga and Lake Tahoe.    

1) The Ultimate Front Row Backstage Tour VIP Package. $600 + Ticket Price:

  • 1 Front Row Ticket
  • An exclusive “behind the scenes” escorted Backstage Tour
  • Unforgettable pre-show on-stage photo opportunity 
  • A limited edition autographed Duran Duran photo
  • A custom designed logo’d tote bag
  • Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard
  • An exclusive to Ultimate package stylish logo’d Toiletry Bag
  • An exclusive to Ultimate package logo’d bluetooth speaker
  • Logo’d Bluetooth noise reducing rechargeable headphones
  • Logo’d stainless steel tumbler

NOTE: There is no meet and greet associated with this package. Details of the backstage tour will be emailed no later than 4 days before the show. The merchandise will be mailed.  

2) The GOLD VIP Package. $175 + Ticket Price 

  • One Premium Ticket in rows 2-8-
  • A custom designed logo’d tote bag
  • Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard
  • Logo’d Bluetooth noise reducing re-chargeable headphones
  • Logo’d stainless steel tumbler

There is no meet and greet, experience at the venue or parking associated with this package. Merchandise will be mailed.  

3) The BRONZE VIP package. $65 + ticket price

  • One Premium Ticket (typically in rows 9 through 20)
  • A custom designed logo’d tote bag
  • Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard

There is no meet and greet, experience at the venue or parking associated with this package. Merchandise will be mailed.  

We will also offer regular pre-sale tickets which you can purchase on its own (not part of any package)

The world spins so fast

I’m going to be blunt: You want to sit in the front row? You’re gonna have to pay, and pay dearly. The law of demand and supply is in effect here. It’s going to be painful, and we’re all going to hate it. However, if you want to be in the White Lines Spit Zone, or stare deeply into John’s eyes as he’s playing Come Undone or Hungry Like the Wolf, it’s going to cost you.

Me? Oh hell no! I’ll happily sit a few rows back so that I can keep paying my son’s college tuition! (it’s not any cheaper than VIP, I’ll say that much!)

I might fly off

So with that, we’re back to the pre-sale anxiety jig. Will I get tickets? Are they going to be too far back? How many shows can I feasibly get away with buying? Watching the Ticketmaster countdown clock tick down to go time… It is definitely a love/hate relationship. Are you with me?

On the other hand, seeing shows added made for a very lovely Mother’s Day. Seeing as my darling husband went to the trouble of printing out an online Mothers Day card for me while I was out at the crack of dawn feeding our chickens and cleaning their coop….I am ready to buy ALL of the Duran Duran tickets.

Well, not really all of them. After all, there’s a two-ticket limit for Vegas and a four-ticket limit for the Saratoga and Lake Tahoe shows.

Meanwhile, my mother arrives tomorrow for an extended visit, I have a house to clean, groceries to buy, a bed is being delivered, hotel and pet kennel reservations to make, and a graduation to attend this weekend. It is crazy…as usual!

-R


Until the Truth is Drawn

Something to remember

The other day, my oldest sent some pictures to me. She was dressed in her cap and gown, and had a photographer friend take some pictures using her university campus as the backdrop. Naturally, I marveled at how it was even remotely possible that she will be graduating in just under two weeks. (actually now it is nine days away, but who’s counting?)

I did what any parent might do. I tweeted a couple, and put them on Instagram too. I’m proud of her. College isn’t easy. Working while attending doesn’t actually make it any less difficult, either. Heather majored in dance, focusing on teaching and choreography. She likes being in charge, and quite frankly – she’s my bossy one – so it makes sense to me that she’s settled into this role for her career beyond college. While many of her peers within the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton focused on being on stage as much as possible, Heather likes being the one designing what goes on up there. Her cap that she’ll wear at graduation says “Work hard in silence and let success be the noise”. That’s exactly my Heather, and so I chose that as one of the photos I tweeted.

Picking through the pieces

Not long after I did my proud mama thing, plenty of my friends responded with notes of congratulations, including a fair number that couldn’t quite get over the fact that she’s already graduating from college. I feel the same. After all, I can distinctly remember trading messages in a chat room with JTDuran, Tracye, Mags, Nasty, Tarcia, Robin and many others while trying to keep the peace between Gavin and Heather. Those two children were either sleeping, fighting, or banding together to create chaos. (Sometimes, I actually miss those times. I must be losing my mind!)

Anyway, when I began hearing from those old friends, I started thinking back. Is it really possible that it’s been 16 years since I first began trading messages with them? For more than one of them, I’ve known them online all that time—and yet we’ve never met in person. We watched one another’s babies be born, grow up, go off to college, and now, they’re starting to graduate. I’ve seen my friends get married, divorce, move and/or travel the world – whether in person, or through the magic of the internet. Some of these women are among my most trusted allies, and we’ve never been in the same room.

What do you have at all

So often I hear fellow Duran fans speak of the atrocities done to them by others (fans). I hear about the faux pas, missteps, and even the ridiculous sense of competition. Somehow though, even through that crazy minefield, I was lucky enough to find women that could get past it all. I don’t know if it’s really such a surprise to hear that many of them aren’t quite as attached the fan community as they once were, though. Sometimes, you just get tired of the nonsense. The real friendships though, they last.

My good fortune to stumble upon a message board filled with women who shared good humor along with discussion, and exchanged life experiences right alongside music continues to pay off. My children – once preschoolers, are now college students. One is about to graduate and move into the “after-college” stage. I’m lucky there are friends to share the heartaches and triumphs, graduations, future marriages and babies; and even the gray-hair, hormones, and mid-life challenges. Whether I see them yearly, on occasion, or have never even met them in person – they matter. Call me crazy, but fandom doesn’t seem so terribly cutthroat when I think of my Duran Duran circle of friends. In fact, I’m grateful.

-R

Only After Dark

Have you heard of Only After Dark? It is a compilation of songs from the Rum Runner Days, released by none other than John and Nick!

Essentially, the album recreates a night at the Rum Runner, and for those of us who weren’t lucky enough to experience the club—the album served as the next best thing.

In 2000, John and Nick chose 50 tracks for a 4-hour radio show called “A Night at the Rum Runner”. The 18-track CD was released on this day in 2006 and even had some photos included in it’s gatefold sleeve that were from Paul Edmond’s book Duran Duran Unseen.

The tracks:

  • Being Boiled – The Human League
  • Computer Game – Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Always Crashing in the Same Car – David Bowie
  • Sister Europe – Psychedelic Furs
  • Changeling – Simple Minds
  • Only After Dark – Mick Ronson
  • Underpass – John Foxx
  • Warm Leatherette – The Normal
  • The “In” Crowd – Bryan Ferry
  • The True Wheel – Brian Eno
  • Are Friends “Electric”? – Tubeway Army
  • Robots – Kraftwerk
  • I Feel Love – Donna Summer
  • I am the Fly – Wire
  • Shot by Both Sides – Magazine
  • Private Life – Grace Jones
  • Passenger – Iggy Pop
  • Slow Motion – Ultravox

If you want to hear the tracks, and experience the Rum Runner groove from back in the day, I found the Only After Dark playlist on Spotify.

If you happen to find yourself in the UK – you might want to check out the Only After Dark club nights, organized by David Wright. I had the opportunity to go to one in 2011, and to this day it remains one of my happiest memories from that trip. Only After Dark is celebrating it’s tenth anniversary this year, and they’re doing it in style with three very special club nights! The first is happening on June 29th and features a guest-DJ set from Martyn Ware. You can find updates on Only After Dark club nights on David’s twitter @DavidWrightOAD. I highly recommend following him and going to one of his club nights – they are incredibly special.

-R

We Light a Spark

Do you ever get tired of it? You know…bickering about the band? Rehashing topic after topic?

This post isn’t about this blog. We write daily, and we try to write about different ideas, bring different angles, and sometimes, we even end up changing our own views about a previous topic. There is a challenge to writing daily, even though Amanda and I split the writing duties. It isn’t always that easy to come up with something new to write about, particularly during times where the band isn’t necessarily “active” outside of the studio, or if they’re on hiatus. When we started Daily Duranie, we recognized the challenge would be the “daily” part. For the past eight years and seven months (who’s counting?), we’ve stayed committed. It definitely isn’t my blog that I’m pondering. Writing is my joy.

A drop of blood on evil beach

Lately, but I’ve seen a dedicated effort to rehash nearly every single “hot button” topic regarding Duran Duran. Is it due to downtime? There’s nothing really “new” to discuss, yet fans want to talk Duran. It is easy to get a conversation started when someone posts a volatile blanket statement about who is the most important member of the band, or blasts into a tirade over various personnel over the years. Don’t we get tired of it?

The thing is, when I look at the people starting the conversations, they’re not names I typically recognize. I’m one of the admins for a DD fan Facebook group, and we still have people requesting to be admitted into the group almost every day. Whether these fans are my age and just haven’t been active, or they’re much younger and are just discovering the band, for the most part it is fair to say that they’re new to this part of fandom.

Here lies the misadventure

Back in 2000, as I made my own first forays into the world of online fandom, I can remember the message boards constantly abuzz with topics just like what I see today on Facebook or even Twitter. The activity was constant. The debates and the occasionally very heated arguments were par for the course. Then the noise started to settle, and people drifted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some fans floated away completely. Maybe they still went to shows but didn’t participate in the online community portion. Perhaps, as several of my own friends have done, they got their fill, and moved on completely.

Yet, here we are in 2019, and there are still very active posts on Facebook with many participants discussing guitarists, the most important member(s) in Duran Duran, and even songs that should have been included on various albums. While part of me is appalled and bored with the discussion, because “dang it haven’t we already beaten this topic to death?!?”, another part of me realizes that the problem isn’t with the posts at all.

I’ve been an active “online community” fan for 19 years now. I don’t know about the rest of you reading, but that seems like a crazy amount of time. It doesn’t feel like 19 years – the time went by in the blink of an eye. When I first started participating, my two oldest kids were 3 and about 1. Heather, my oldest, is going to graduate from university in 10 days, and my son Gavin is in his second year. I didn’t even have my youngest yet!

Feel the same as you yourself

My point though, is that during that 19 years, I’ve written, posted, and talked a LOT. I’ve seen fans come and go. I’ve seen blogs and websites come and go, too. As crazy as it seems, when I think of the big picture – there does seem to be a bit of a fan cycle. People get energized, or even re-energized. They seek out information online. They connect with other people, then they talk about every possible Duran Duran topic under the sun. They go to shows, experience album cycles. At some point, they get tired of talking. Outside life pressures need more attention. Maybe they even get tired of participating with the community at large. They go to a show or two, but ultimately, they drift away. From what I’ve seen, particularly lately – there are always people with brand new energy, ready to take up that slack.

While sure, there are some people who rather enjoy posting the same information and photos, hoping to somehow get attention, there is also an influx of new and energized fans, ready to dissect the differences between band members, albums, and songs.

Truthfully, that’s the way we want it, too. My “get off my lawn” attitude aside, I’m recognizing that it’s all great. New blood is a good thing. Seeing people continue to write and talk about the nonsense of leaving “Beautiful Colors” off of Astronaut is something to be applauded. If it were left to the rest of us who have already had our fill of the hot topics- the fandom would slow to a trickle. It wouldn’t be “Planet Roaring” at all, now would it?

-R


It’s Got to be Funky!

It’s a little bit late now

Welcome to a brand new week, Duranies. As I sat here pondering what to write about today, (and let me just be honest: I was not prepared in the least for today, and if I had it my way, I’d have called the day off altogether!) I saw that DDHQ had asked social media what they felt was Duran Duran’s funkiest song.

I thought the answer was pretty simple. Of course it’s “Notorious”. After all, Simon pretty much proclaims it at every show when he asks if anyone is ready to dance, and if so what should they play…and then he’ll say something like “Whatever it is, it has to be FUNKY!”…and then they break into “Notorious”. I didn’t have to think hard about it, and started to type when I decided to take a quick scroll through the other answers being offered on Twitter.

Turns out, “Notorious” wasn’t even the most popular answer (at the time), and the answers ran the gamut from “Nite Runner” to “Skin Trade”. All of that had me thinking whether or not I still wanted to go with “Notorious” as my answer. Sure, it was the easiest for me to come up with, but is it really the funkiest? I think that might depend on your definition of funk.

Soul persuasion

I decided that if I was going to write about funk, I’d better have a decent, formal definition. I pulled the following up from Google:

Funk (noun): A style of popular dance music of US black origin, based on elements of blues and soul and having a strong rhythm that typically accentuates the first beat in the bar.

The definition is a little vague, but the idea is there. The music is danceable. It has a foot firmly in the jazz rule book, but the rhythm and blues current is undeniable and very forward in the music. (meaning it is what your ears notice first. You can’t really miss it.) Even more interesting than noticing just how many Duran songs fit into that box, is realizing that the one element found on every Duran Duran album in some way, shape, or form, is funk!

Even on their debut album, you can hear funk in the bass and in the drums. It is there, even when the other song elements aren’t in that same vein. That effect – the melding of electronic with funk, rhythm & blues and even disco – is likely what made their music so special to many of us, from day one.

It moves me into place

While many fans (including myself) have engaged in discussion over the ever-changing musical fabric with each album, the one element that remains the same is indeed that sense of funk. So often I find myself talking with folks about whether or not I can hear the guitar, or the bass, or even synthesizers, when in fact what I think we should really be discussing is whether or not we still hear that “Duran Duran Funk”.

If we hear it, is it weak or strong? Overpowering? Just the right amount? If it seems absent, how does that make us feel? Do we think something is missing? It is definitely worth a trip down the rabbit hole into the back catalog to see just how important funk is to the Duran Duran musical “brand” and to individual listeners, or fans.

If we can lay this down

Obviously, this concept isn’t new. It wasn’t as though I woke up today with the magic formula for a perfect Duran Duran song. Rather, the idea of just how many songs in their catalog have funk as their elemental backbone gave me something to consider over coffee this morning.

I don’t know if it is really the “funkiest” song in their catalog – but “American Science” has a slow, hypnotic, soul, with plenty of funk to it that I’ve always loved. While the tempo isn’t fast and it certainly isn’t “Notorious”, it has all the elements that make it a song worth many listens.

-R

Awaken All Those Whispers

Dusty shadow of a passing favour

Last weekend, I sat down and listened to my vinyl copy of As The Lights Go Down. Without pretense and drama, I’ll just say that I really enjoyed it.

I can’t pretend that I’m an expert with regard to mastering or sound engineering, or any of that. I’m just a listener, period. While I’ve always been interested in the technical side of album production, I really don’t know a lot about it. I just know what I enjoy, and that’s what I’m going to share.

From the conversations I’ve seen on both Twitter and Facebook, there seems to be some confusion about what and where this album is from. Is it the same as Arena? What about the video/dvd/broadcast As The Lights Go Down? Are they all the same? How about the digital version of ATLGD – is it the same as the vinyl?

The answers are no, sort of, and yes. Let me try and sort this out for those who are confused (I was one of them). I’m going to be very, very clear here: in order to try and decipher all of this, I had to research online and take notes. I didn’t automatically “know” any of this. Thank goodness for the internet today. There’s no way I could have kept it all straight otherwise. I missed out on the special “gift” of being that detail oriented!

Arena (Album)

Arena – the vinyl/CD/etc is a live album that was “recorded around the world” in 1984 that also included the studio recording of “Wild Boys”. I’m pretty sure at least most of us are familiar, right? The complaints about Arena range from the audience sounds being muted to the sound being rather flat. It’s “live”….but not really. Clearly somebody tinkered with the sound, and probably because it was needed, but I really don’t know. Like I said, I’m no expert. Owning Arena was the most exciting thing to happen to me in 1984. I hadn’t ever seen the band live at that point, and listening to that album, at the time,””

Arena (An Absurd Notion)

Arena also has a slightly more exciting, and possibly evil conjoined twin named Arena (An Absurd Notion). This is a concert film…but as a twist, there’s also a plot! This was filmed in Oakland, California in 1984. The film was released on videotape and broadcast on MTV. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend finding a copy. It’s pretty wild and makes for a great party/drinking game if you’re so inclined.

As the Lights Go Down (film)

Then there’s the film version of As The Lights Go Down. Essentially, this is similar to Arena (An Absurd Notion), but with all of the plot elements cut. However, even the live footage is edited differently in spots so it doesn’t seem like it’s exactly the same thing as Arena. So, it’s basically a concert video that is about an hour in length. This too was broadcast – first on Cinemax and later on MTV. I’m reading that there are at least two versions of this film that exist (but I really don’t know the differences). If you have a DVD of this film that you found on an auction site – or something that is a “stand-alone” copy, chances are, if you had it prior to 2010, you own a bootlegged copy. That year, there was an official, bonus disc of it included in the special re-issue of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

As the Lights Go Down – Digital

So that leaves the digital version, found on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc. Is it the same as the vinyl released for Record Store Day? Yes, but it is mp3 because it is digital, and was released in 2010. I’ll let your own ears decide if it’s the same.

As the Lights Go Down – RSD vinyl 2019

So what about this vinyl, then? Again, I’m no audiophile. I don’t have the same expectations as someone who is a DJ, or works in the industry. I’m your average listener. I put the needle on the record, and sat down with a glass of wine. While I would say that there still isn’t a lot of difference between the lows and highs (the dynamic ranges), I definitely hear a difference between the vinyl and the mp3 – although it is subtle. Unless you’re listening with quality headphones, it is likely most wouldn’t notice. If you want to compare this album to say, Arena – the differences are night and day in many respects. What I enjoyed most about this album though, was that I could hear many notes, arpeggios, and loops that I couldn’t quite discern before. I loved hearing all of those extra layers that felt very compressed before. Again, I’m not an expert – I just know what I like. It sounds great, and I’m not sorry I bought it.

I know others were disappointed by the track order, but this is where my lack of attention to detail wins every time. It didn’t even occur to me to notice! I just enjoyed each track for what it provided, and didn’t expend a lot of brain waves thinking about why. Taking a trip back through 1984 without being forced to relive my frizzy hair, awkward body, and drama-filled school days worked for me. Listening to the songs I fell in love with at 12 and 13, with my 48-year old ears still fairly intact gave me a chance to fully appreciate the relationship I still have with this band. (however one-sided it may be!)

Overall, I believe many fans truly expect perfection in every single way, 100% of the time. I’m not sure if I reside in that group. I know that at one time, I probably did – but at this moment in my life, I’m willing to give grace and forgive an awful lot just to have a bit of joy. This album delivered, and that’s more than enough for me, in my mostly non-expert, “just a listener”, opinion.

-R




You Walk the Line

Yesterday, I came across a short article from tvovermind.com, titled “Five 80s Bands We Really Want to Make a Comeback”

Naturally, I had to click on it.

It turns out, and you may want to sit down before reading on, because it is certainly a shock…but Duran Duran is one of the 80s bands they want to make a comeback.

Now I can see the big idea

Strange things happen overnight. An article that had originally been worded with a vague reference to an MIA fan base was reformed. Now it’s not a “knock on Duran Duran.” It’s the opposite, so the article states. They’re just interested in a “certain type of music to be more prevalent”. Yesterday, comments about personnel changes and setbacks took the lead. Today, the blurb was edited so that the reader might understand that Duran Duran has taken their knocks along the way. But hey, they’re still thriving.

Well, there’s something I agree with!

Duran Duran IS thriving.

However, the writer wants the band to go back to their 80s roots, claiming that we’d all love them more.

Would we, though?

An empire in a day

I say again, it is 2019. Do we really want Duran Duran to go back to playing the same old, same old – or do we want this band to continue to challenge themselves as well as their listeners? I would argue that to continue writing music circa-1985 would be the easy way out. I also think we’d all be incredibly bored by now. I’ll just say it myself: I would be so bored!!

No, I haven’t fallen deeply in love with every single thing the band has ever done. I do; however, have a deep appreciation and respect for the course the band has taken to get to this point right here and now. As I tell my own children—sometimes, you have to fall, in order to get back up again.

Duran Duran isn’t the same band that they were back in 1985. Then again, it isn’t still 1985. A good many things have changed since then. Even the music industry itself has changed! Music doesn’t sell the same way, bands can’t market themselves with a glossy, lacquered video and expect the money to roll on in. This band, or any band for that matter, cannot simply turn back the dial to 1985 in order to hear their name roll swiftly off the lips of all who inhabit Planet Earth again. I’m not even sure I wish that as a possibility.

Out of range, but in time

As I complained openly on Twitter yesterday, I’m tired of reading about the hopes of a comeback. During the past 19 years, Duran Duran has released five albums (thank you to C.K. for reminding me that Pop Trash came out in 2000….five lashes to me for leaving that out!), and Paper Gods even sat in the top ten. That doesn’t sound like a band that needs to make a comeback at all. They’ve been bringing it the entire time! Where have YOU been?

While the band itself might be unfazed by such articles, and perhaps might even secretly enjoy seeing them because it puts them in the position of looking like they are constantly fighting—I specifically took issue because the original unedited piece made it seem as though the fans have been somewhat MIA.

I don’t know about you all, but I haven’t gone anywhere. I’m not done yet. Are you?

-R