Tag Archives: Duran Duran

Duran’s Peak Live Performances

Lately, our daily questions/polls have focused on Duran’s live performances.  Specifically, people have picked which version of a song they like better.  The versions are live performances from different tours.  We have asked about New Religion, Careless Memories and the Chauffeur.  Interestingly enough, for each song, fans who participate in our daily questions have stated that the 1984 Sing Blue Silver version of these songs are the best.  This has made me think.  Was Duran really better live in 1984?  Were the arrangements better?  If so, what does that say about the band?  If not, what does that say about the fans?

1984 was the height of Duranmania.  They were selling out stadiums worldwide and had songs and albums at the top of the charts.  Most would agree that they were the most popular band in the world at that time.  Their concerts were often filled with teenage girls who spent a LOT of the time screaming, from everything I read.  I have also read/seen many interviews in which the band discussed the “wall of sound” that was created from the screaming crowd.  Watch the video below and hear the band talk about this about 7 minutes in:

Now, in fairness, I did not see Duran Duran in 1984.  I’m sure that I would have thought that they were amazing then!  But, would they be better then than now?  Would the 30 years after that not make them better, in terms of their musicianship and performance?  Did their live performances peak over 30 years ago?!?  Listen to what Nick said in 2005 about 1 minute into this clip:

Duran would argue that their live performances are better now.  That said, I’ll play devil’s advocate.  In 1984, they were younger and had more energy.  Perhaps, that energy would make their performance more entertaining.  I could see that.  Yet, when I think of live performances, I do want the songs to be entertaining and fun, but I also want the music to be played well.  

Let me try an experiment.  I’m going to put videos of Careless Memories from 1984 and then from 2004.  Just listen to them.  Do not watch them.  Then, tell me which version you like better.  Both of them are from official videos, too, to ensure that the sound quality is decent on both.

In thinking about this question, when did Duran play better live, I think about my own career.  Just yesterday, I was asked to meet with a bunch of soon-to-be-teachers.  While I appreciated their enthusiasm and their idealism, I liked that they wanted me there as someone with experience.  While I might not be as energetic as I once was as a teacher, I know that I’m a better teacher now than I was when I first started.  Experience matters.

Personally, I would hate to believe that the best days of my career were in the past, when I first started.  I would imagine that Duran would hate that, too.  I’m willing to bet that Duran gets a lot of questions in reference to their “heyday” and how they “peaked” in their mid-20s.  I’m sure that’s frustrating and that they would prefer to think that they are at their best right now.  After all, if they were at their best in the mid 80s, then why continue now?

I’m sure that the fans who are voting for the 1984 Sing Blue Silver Tour versions of the songs don’t mean all this.  They are just thinking that they loved that time period.  Sing Blue Silver and As the Lights Go Down bring back nothing but fond memories of a band that they fell in love with.  I guess, for me, while I loved the band then, I love them differently and more now.  Maybe it is the fan in me that actually believes that they are better now, too.

-A

When you get that lonely shine in your eye

The other day, Amanda and I were on Skype. We were beginning work on a project and kicking around ideas when the topic turned to our upcoming road trip to San Francisco. We’re both really excited to have plans this summer, even if it’s only for a couple of shows. San Francisco is a city we’ve never been together while “touring”, and it will be great to see fellow Duranies, too.

That got us talking about our friends. Duranie friends, that is. We have a lot of people we know from the blog – people that we might not know well, but that have introduced themselves to us at various shows and things. We also have our core group of friends, which honestly, seems like it’s dwindled over the years. It is that group that I’ve been thinking about more recently.

When I first started out on the message boards, I stumbled upon a group of women that I became pretty attached to. Many of them were on the organizing committee for a convention that I was a part of, and a few others were involved on the board. (Amanda is one of those people, actually!)  They were what I like to call, my people. (We also called ourselves the Gutter Gals at one time, back about thirteen years ago!) I remember feeling like I needed to study up on Duran Duran because these women knew Duran Duran’s history like nobody’s business. I knew only what I’d read. These women had been to shows. Many of them. I think I’d been to about six at the time, and one of them was a festival. I knew next to nothing compared to most of them.

One of them had organized more than one convention, and seemed to know everyone, everywhere. When I looked at her (virtually, of course) and then looked at myself, I felt like I had absolutely nothing in common with her. She seemed hard-edged, and there I was—Miss OC Soccer Mom—trying my best to fit in. Another one was easily likable. She was popular on the boards, friendly to all, and everyone thought she was cool.  She could use humor to diffuse almost any situation, a tool she still uses to this day. I witnessed women tripping over themselves to befriend this person, and when she and I hit it off – calling one another the “other half of our brain”, I thought I’d made a friend for life. Yet, I was really nothing like her, either.  She was young, independent, single, a partier—and everyone loved her.  Still others were quieter, but they knew their Duran-stuff. They had history following the band, whereas I had spent the majority of my life prior on the outside looking in.

As many know, this group of women embraced me, for reasons I still don’t really quite understand. I never felt like I measured up. I don’t have tattoos or a number of piercings. I don’t know the band, haven’t had any body part signed by them, nor have I jumped the stage and been carried off by Dave. I look ridiculous in Doc Marten’s, and I look stupid with burgundy colored hair. The hardest-edged thing about me are probably the toe rings I wear in the summer – and yes, that’s a joke (although the toe rings are not). Rocker-girl or goth enthusiast, I am not. I’m more apt to wear pink than black on any given day. Oh, how I’ve wished I could be one of those women who can pull off black hair, black leather, etc. I’m just the opposite. I’m more like bubble gum, really. I suppose in many ways, it’s why I started this blog. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be like those women in one way or another. For once, I wanted to be on the inside and actually do something. But, as time has gone on, I’ve noticed that most of that original group of women are no longer around.

I probably can’t really call them close friends, anymore. It’s not that I don’t love them, or care about them, but they’ve moved on, and I really haven’t. The most I see or hear from them is on Facebook. They’ve got careers, lives, marriages, and they’ve kind of dropped Duran Duran along the way. I don’t know if the band got “old” (I don’t mean in age), or if they got tired of it all, or if the trend changed—and me being me—I missed my cue to leave and instead, I got more involved. Many of them complain about the band in one way or another, and yet I embrace them tighter. Maybe it’s me, really. (It is probably me.)

I haven’t seen many of them in years, now that I think about it. I don’t travel alone (meaning without the family) much unless it’s for Duran Duran. Then again, I can’t afford to fly these days anyway, so unless the band plays on the west coast (thankfully they are this summer) and I can drive there, I’m sort of stuck. The good news is I’m just about halfway through the whole “paying for two kids in college” thing, so I’m hoping it will get better from here. Point being, I don’t get out much, so I don’t see them often, if at all. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe it’s just that people drift apart, and we weren’t all meant to be friends forever.

The one thing I know for sure, is that without those women, I wouldn’t be writing. The only reason I ever started writing was because I missed being able to tear through album, song, video and show minutia. I loved talking about all of that “little” stuff. I liked examining the human condition and how news would affect the fan community as a group. I used to do that on the message boards, until there stopped being message boards. So, without those women, I don’t think I would have started this blog, and I don’t think I would have gone to the last thirty shows or so. I still love this band, for some crazy reason. I have a blast when I go to the shows. I have spoken to a few from that original group over the years, and the subject of meeting the band always comes up. They don’t understand why we continue to put in so much effort to be completely ignored by Duran Duran.

First of all, I haven’t been totally ignored, and Daily Duranie hasn’t been ignored. At least for me, it really has been about the expectations I had swirling in the back of my head from day one. This was never about being accepted by the band. I wanted to be accepted by my peers. There have been times when I’ve let the idea of acceptance by the band cloud my judgment, and the outcome has not been good. This is not about them. It’s about me. I wanted to prove I was more than just a housewife. More than just some nerdy kid than never quite grew up. More than solely a mom. I desperately wanted people to like me.

The irony that I have weeks like this, where I openly muse about friends I’ve lost along the way, isn’t lost on me. Speaking out has come to mean standing alone, sometimes. Even so, the nostalgia for that close group of friends I once had, and the journey I’ve been on since, is a little bittersweet.

I’m excited for my upcoming trip, and if you see Amanda and I at a table or at the bar—come say hello. We’d love to make a new friend or two along the way!

-R

A Special Tribute to Ann Le Bon

Some blogs are difficult to compose. Not because I don’t know what to write, or because I can’t think of what to say. Instead, they’re hard because I don’t know how to properly put something into words without sounding too familiar, or on the other hand, too much like a journalist. I’m neither, so….I’m going to try my best.

At some point this morning, DDHQ sent out a note from Simon letting fans know that Ann Le Bon, Simon’s mom, passed away in the night of the 19th of June.  The full note reads (copied and pasted from Duran Duran’s Facebook) as follows:

“Ann Marie Le Bon died willingly & peacefully in the night of June the 19th. She’s the person I’ve known the longest in my life.  We are all very sad.  But she has left us with overwhelming love, which she planted as seed in all of our hearts.”  

I did not ever have the good fortune to meet Ann in person, at least not that I am aware of. I don’t believe Amanda had either. Many of our readers have met her, some even having tea with her at one point or many over the years, and still others found themselves a pen pal in Ann.

As for Amanda and myself, well, we found a reader. Ann read our blog, at least often enough to decide to follow our page on Facebook. Both of us were dumbfounded—truly, we were speechless—the day that we received notification that she’d followed us. I won’t lie, at first I think both Amanda and I felt it might be a fake account, but after really looking at it, we were convinced it really was Simon’s mom, and yes, we were really pleased she thought enough of the blog to follow. Sometimes, not often but a few times over the years, she would post an encouraging comment to the page as well. I am sure she never knew how much we appreciated those, but as I move forward from this point, I’ll never forget her kindness. I’m sure many will point out that our blog was not the only fan page she followed, and that is exactly my point. She cared about the fans.

Ann was unique in that aspect, as Amanda and I have come to find over the years. She wasn’t afraid to open her heart (and home) to fans. Often times, all I need do is make mention that I write a fan blog to someone I’ve just met, whether they work in the industry or not, and I will get the side-eyed looks and stares that tell me I’ve already been labeled a freak. Family members of those in the industry tend to shield themselves from fans, much of the time—and granted—some of that (if not much of that) is out of necessity, but Ann did not operate that way. She loved us, cared about us, and to my knowledge, never mentioned that we fans were strange or odd because our fandom followed us through adulthood. I think she sensed how much we all cared about her son, which in some respects was the common bridge we shared.

As someone who has lost a parent, this is not a club anyone looks forward to joining. I think we all are cognizant on some level that our parents will not be with us on this planet forever, but however long we have them never seems quite long enough. As I said before, I didn’t know Ann personally, but it wasn’t difficult to see how much Simon adores his mum.

Grief is a weird thing. At first (at least for me, and everyone is different), the memories were almost painful. The last thing I wanted was to feel that sting and emptiness that thinking of my dad left me. As time has gone on though, I appreciate the fond memories I have of my dad. They give me comfort when I need, and sometimes—particularly when I am doing something I know he would “bust me” for doing—I can hear his voice booming in my head with a resounding, “Rhonda Lynn!!”

It makes me smile.

I hope the same for Simon and his family. My heart goes out to his entire family.

-R

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!!

So, there are some blogs I feel woefully unqualified to write. A birthday blog for this particular person slides in that general direction from time to time.

First of all, Amanda is the “John-girl” around here. Not that I don’t admire John, but it seems unfair that I get to write for Roger, Dom AND John, you know?  The idea of writing a birthday blog for each member seemed great in year one of the blog. Even years two through five were good. I still had things to say and memories to replay.  But now, I think this is what, year six? I’m going to be honest: I don’t think I know John very well.

Yes, there’s his book. Some might say he wrote a lot in there. (I’m actually one of those people) I felt he exposed himself pretty selflessly.  Even so, I’ve had almost no interactions with him over the years, so I can’t write from personal experience.

I mean, unless you count shows.  John amazes me at shows sometimes, because there I am, one little face in a crowd of thousands, and even when I’ve been back a few rows, sometimes he’ll make eye contact. Unlike with other members of the band – when John is looking at you, you know he’s looking at you.  There was this one time Amanda and I were at the House of Blues in Atlantic City (I hope that’s right. I get this stuff screwed up a lot) and it was during the last leg of Red Carpet Massacre shows here in the US. They were just starting the song Red Carpet Massacre, which happens to be my favorite off of that album. John gets the crowd clapping along, and I started to clap and happened to look up. He caught my eye, and slightly shook his head because, wouldn’t you know it – I was clapping wrong. (I know there’s a lesson for fans in here about paying proper attention at shows…) I watched carefully and started clapping appropriately and received a big grin. It was only later that I was mortified that I had to be taught correctly by John….

There’s that other time at the Sears Center when I tested the line of sight from the stage because I wasn’t quite convinced John could really see all the way to the ninth row. Amanda and I were having the time of our lives that night, dancing and singing to every song as though we’d never gone to a Duran Duran concert before. We were having a blast. I think the band began Electric Barbarella, and I pulled a face. In fairness, it isn’t my favorite song and hey, who can really see us in the ninth row anyway??

Well, I look up, and John Taylor is laughing and looking our way. I don’t think much of it because, seriously, there are eight rows of wonderful people in front of me. He wasn’t looking at us. But then he kind of kept looking and seemed to be at least chuckling, so I did what any normal fan would not do, and stuck my tongue out playfully. I figured that no response would tell me that of course he wasn’t looking at us. Well, he returned the favor.  I laughed. Because really, what could I do?? He caught me fair and square!

Oh, and then there’s Valley Center in 2011. This was just as they were getting themselves back into touring mode after having canceled their UK tour that spring. It was the first show I was going to see them at, and I was pretty emotional that night because for a while there, I really had my doubts about whether Simon would ever really be able to sing the same again. I was worried. Nothing more, nothing less. So that night was different because of my emotions, because Amanda wasn’t with me…and because I also had my less-than-emotional husband with me, and we were in the second row.

By that time, I am pretty sure everyone knew I didn’t love Hungry Like the Wolf…but when they started playing it that night, I know I rolled my eyes, and didn’t really dance much. Well, I was right there in row TWO, and who should come bounding over to Dom’s side of the stage but John. AND Dom. AND Simon. Yes, it was choreographed that way at the time, but during the “Do do do” section of the song (you all know what I mean), John looks down at me, grins like a damn Cheshire cat and sings the line right at me, grinning the entire time.

Ok then, John. Even my husband, who typically doesn’t notice much, noticed. And so did Dom, who openly laughed. There was no way I was going to get away without singing. And let’s face it, John didn’t know that I was sick to death of that song at the time. I’m sure he doesn’t read the blog. He just knew that I was at his show and wasn’t singing along…and he was going to fix it. So he did.

I make sure to sing EVERY song (and clap correctly) when I go to shows now. Lesson learned, point taken.

I don’t know. Fans have often said to me that John doesn’t seem to interact much from the stage. Pretty much everyone complains about his absence from social media, although everyone and their brother seems to think they know exactly why he left. Even with his book, and his book tour, the shows and the things he goes out of his way to do for various charities – and the meet and greets he does for those types of organizations, people say he doesn’t interact. I’ve even said I don’t know him.

The thing is, I think with John, we really do kind of know who he wants us to know. Not everyone is comfortable with that “in your face” constantly kind of atmosphere that goes along with celebrity. John reminds me just a little of myself, in that when I go “on tour” with Amanda, by the time we’ve had a meet up or hung out with people all weekend, or even just all night, I’m ready for some downtime. By the end of a weekend with friends, I’m happy to retreat back into obscurity. It is hard to be “ON” all of the time, and I’m no celebrity. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be in the band and never get away from it.

I think that’s why the boundaries are there, and why someone like John has learned to keep them rock solid. Sure, I miss him on social media, so much so that when DDHQ does tweet a picture or a video or something from him, I love it. It’s not the same as when he’d tweet us directly or whatever, but it’s probably healthier for him, and I respect that.

I look forward to seeing him onstage in a few weeks. Hopefully I will have my clapping and singing up to snuff!  Happy birthday John!!

-R

Electric Barbarella finishes filming in 1997

I feel free!  Summer may now begin! Now that the graduation festivities are over and I have another high school graduate on my hands, I’m ready.

It felt really good to see Gavin cross the stage and get his diploma on Saturday, and I’m really thankful that most of my family was there to see it, including my brother-in-law, who spent quite a bit of time in the hospital recently. He’s doing really well though, and we have great hopes that he’ll receive the bone marrow transplant he needs in the coming months. Until then, we treasure whatever time we have together.

Next on the summer “fun” list is Gavin’s 18th birthday, and then 4th of July, which is my favorite holiday, and then I pick Amanda up from the airport for an extended weekend of fun and road tripping to the bay area. I’m excited to see the shows, but I’m also really looking forward to not being in a hurry to get from one place to the next. We are leaving early enough to have time to ourselves, and the same holds true for on the way home. I am hoping it will feel like a real getaway rather than a race, even though the two shows are GA.  We may be waiting in line, but hopefully we will be amongst friends and have a good time chatting the weekend away. I’m not going to think much beyond that because I want to savor every moment.

So, for today – I have a moment in history to think about. On this date in 1997, filming for video for “Electric Barbarella” was completed.

I never really fell in love with this video, and I think it’s one of the pieces that really tends to stir up a fair amount of controversy amongst fans. The woman is a robot, looks an awful lot like Barbie, and the song lyrics are enough to make you wonder just what is meant by the song. Is it all just for fun, or is there another message?

-R