It has been a rough week. Rhonda mentioned in yesterday’s blog that there is a lot of people in pain. That is true in my world as well. In fact, it has been one of the toughest weeks of teaching in my entire career as a lot of kids and staff are in pain. I won’t go into details but it has gotten to me, too. I worry about people I care about being in pain, including friends and students. Yet, I’m determined to “change the point of view” with this blog. I know that I need a break from reality and figured that you all might, too. So, I’m going to focus on something far more positive.
I don’t know about the rest of you but I get a lot of email. This isn’t because I’m super popular but because I get a lot of junk. I swear I spend a lot of time just deleting all those junk emails, which is what I was doing when earlier this week I came upon one that I saved to read later. What email was this? It had this as its subject line: Duran Duran New date and new GOLD package!
While I saved this email to read after school, I didn’t think too much of it as I figured it would be about that Iceland date that I knew that I wouldn’t be going to. Somehow I had missed the part about the gold package, thinking that it was connected to tickets for that show. Alas, I was wrong! Here is what it said:
Finally, we will be releasing the new GOLD package on www.duranduranmusic.com on April 30th. We are very excited about this package as these items will not be available in the online store or at shows. The package (see photo) includes:
• Brand new exclusive Duran Duran RIO logo’d lyric t-shirt • Duran Duran logo’d water resistant Bluetooth speaker • The brand new Duran Duran logo’d sticky note pad • Duran Duran logo’d portable phone charger. At a show and battery dying? Just plug into this handy device. • Custom designed Duran lyric poster set – Four (4) high quality matted 11″ X 17” posters shipped in protected tube • Duran Duran “popsocket” – the perfect accessory for your cell phone • Duran Duran circular sticker – looks great on a car bumper, notebook or anywhere • A natural logo’d “Tea Towel” with the new logo featuring all songs commercially released on Duran Duran albums
If you are not already a member the 30th would be a great time to sign up for the DD VIP Fan Community . Existing members who would like the GOLD package should RENEW at the GOLD level beginning the 30th and you will receive all of the new GOLD merchandise and we will add 12 months of membership beyond your current expiration date. For example if you expire on June 1st, 2019 and you renew on April 30th your membership will be extended to June 1st, 2020. All of the details and pricing will be up on the site on April 30th.
A picture of the new merch was included as seen here:
So, what do you all think? I admit it. I’m a sucker for Duran merch. I always have and always will be. It is interesting to see the focus on lyrics in both the t-shirt and posters. I wonder how they decided on those songs of Rio, Ordinary World, Do You Believe in Shame and The Chauffeur. I don’t know if I would have chosen those but I don’t mind them. Beyond the lyrics, there are some repeats in terms of types of products, including the post-it notes and portable charger. I always love post-its so those will be welcome. I like the cell phone pop-up but I have a really nice Duran cell phone case with a JoSi picture so I don’t know that I would use that but might with a future phone. The tea towel is like the canvass bags we got in the VIP package for those February dates. I had planned to frame one of those but this would be a lot easier to frame! I am unsure about what to do think about the car sticker as it depends on the size but I do like the speaker.
Now, I have no idea how much this new gold package will be. Right now, though, I’m tempted to buy it. I could use a pick me up. What about the rest of you? What are your thoughts about this new package?
Do you feel it? The sense that shows are right around the corner? Lately, when I have had the time to glance at social media, I notice that there has been more and more discussion about the upcoming shows. Specifically, I’m seeing more and more chatter about people’s plans for the upcoming shows. As I saw these discussions, I was reminded of how it used to be on DuranDuranMusic in which there was always a flutter of discussion before a show or tour. Initially, I felt a sense of sadness that things are not like that anymore but then I realized that there were elements of the past that I don’t miss all that much.
How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards during the peak years of 2004-2007ish? I was as it seemed like quite the place to be. People hung out there day and night writing countless posts about various band members, the news, rumors and more. While the regular day was busy, it felt one couldn’t keep up when there were shows on the horizon. As soon as shows were announced, threads would be started that included roll calls for each and every show. The idea here was to have everyone going on a list. This seemed totally awesome and was for a lot of people. After all, wouldn’t it increase your excitement to know that a lot of your friends were going to something? I know that it does for me. After all, I check to see who is going to someone’s party when I am invited to one in my non-fandom life.
From a fandom stand point, a list of who is going is all good. It is a sign that a fan community is healthy and thriving, that a lot of people not only want to go but are planning on it. This could encourage others to make the decision to go as well. Maybe they see who is on the list and it is a lot of their friends so they pull the trigger to go, so to speak. Perhaps they just want to be a part of something that seems popular with the promise of an amazing time. It all shows that the subject of the fandom is doing well with their fans as people want to go see them or go to an event about them.
Yet, there is something about it that still bothers me. Does a list like a roll call do more than show how many fans are going? Does it also indicate a sense of popularity? I distinctly remember looking at these lists and seeing the same names over and over again. Are those the “in” fans I wondered? Are they the ones who know more or have more social status within the fan community? What if you are a fan who isn’t well-known? Do other fans just brush off your name, not caring that you are going? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that making or contributing to a list like a roll call is bad or mean-spirited. I don’t. Heck, I am sure that I have put my name on one a time or two or ten, but I always felt a little weird about it. I’m sure that it was done to do exactly what I said up above, that it was done to increase excitement or to just share how thrilled someone is about going. But for me, it felt problematic.
The roll call, itself, didn’t do much besides share who is going to a show or many shows, depending on how many roll calls were posted at one time. That said, they often had another element which was when additional information was shared like where their seats were. While I’m certain this just continued the excitement, I wonder how this would make the fans who couldn’t go or couldn’t go VIP. Maybe this was only a problem for me. Admittedly, I worried that no one would care if I was going or worse, that my presence would deter others from going.
Let me be honest. I know how those old threads made me feel. For a long time, I was not someone who could go to many shows. Then, even when I did, I couldn’t go VIP except for a couple of special shows. I remember how it felt to not be able to be a part of that. I know that no one was trying to make me or anyone else feel badly but they did. They made me feel like I just wasn’t part of the cool group and would never be. After awhile, I just started to pull back and stop trying to fit into the cool group whether on DDM or elsewhere.
About the same time that DDM started to die down, social media grew in popularity. At that time, it felt like Twitter was the place to be, especially when some band members were around, tweeting. That feeling of not being good enough stayed with me from DDM, though, which is why I opted not to say much. I didn’t even try. So, for me, I don’t really miss those roll calls even though I could include my name more than I ever did back then. It feels better this way to me.
I’ve been thinking about the last line I wrote in yesterday’s post.
“I got involved in the fan community because I wanted to make friends, not enemies.”
For the past seventeen years, I’ve participated in the Duran Duran fan community. By that I mean, I’ve been involved online. Before that, I didn’t really know much about their fan club. I can remember reading something about it in the 1980s, but my parents weren’t about to let me answer some ad in Tiger Beat. Yes, they were pretty strict.
Like many, I discovered duranduran.com after going to a concert. I don’t know why I didn’t think about searching for them online before, but I hadn’t. Going to that one show in 2001 changed everything, and searching online tied me to the band going forward. I’m definitely not sorry.
What boggles my mind though, is how much the community itself has changed. Even after duranduran.com stopped hosting the fan forum and it became a benefit for paid members of duranduranmusic.com, people still flocked to the message board. It was a busy place with many different personalities. Nowadays, it is a ghost town. Even Twitter, which seemed to be a gathering spot in the aftermath of DDM’s forum, has settled way down. Band members don’t really post, and many of the fans who at one time were active in the Twitterverse have since drifted.
It is inevitable that people drift away, or in and out of fandom. Currently, the band is fairly quiet. Even in the most recent Katy Kafe, Roger and Katy briefly mention that there is really no upcoming news from the band. In fact, I saw written somewhere that KAABOO Cayman is the only 2019 performance date. Now, whether that is the plan going forward or only the truth currently, I can’t say. Regardless, it makes sense that for right now, fandom is fairly quiet.
I think my surprise has far more to do with the changes I don’t notice until I really think about them. So many people I once knew and chatted with on a daily basis have simply moved on. I’ve lost touch with many over the years, and yet here I am…still loitering! Twitter is a very different animal these days, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Facebook have all changed considerably.
I almost feel like the fan community has blurred into the woodwork. I don’t think about how the fan community has evolved very often, only when I realize that the band has been off tour (and by that I mean the Paper Gods tour ended) since about this time last year, which means they haven’t been in the studio for about 3.5 years, unless you count the various times they’ve mentioned going back into the studio over the course of the last year in Katy Kafes. Makes you curious what they’ve actually done in the studio during those times, right? Yet it’s only today that I’ve sat back and thought about it!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not trying to cattle prod them back in there, although I know it reads that way. I am really just trying to illustrate that I don’t really notice everything that has changed until I’ve got spare time on my hands to do so!
I miss the tangible feeling of perpetual excitement in the air. During the Astronaut and Reunion era, I could feel the electricity! I suppose I could be romanticizing the nostalgia, in the same way I remember high school being fun all of the time. I haven’t had a lot of time over the past year to really think about Duran Duran, or even the Paper Gods tour that much. Yeah, I know I write the blog nearly every day, but I mean even beyond that time. These are the first moments where I’ve sat back and thought about the fan community I once knew. I didn’t appreciate it until I noticed how quiet it has become.
What was once a significant part of my day, has become far less of an influence. I think my husband probably cheers for that, now that I’ve taken on the “hobby” of keeping an immaculate home. I’ve become FAR too domesticated for my taste. Just the other day I told Amanda that I couldn’t wait to be worrying about truly important things again. You know, concert dates and pre-sales! Or telling my husband that I was going to be gone for weeks on end…in another country.
I even miss him coming home from work to see me laughing because I was in a chat room with friends. There were many times I wouldn’t have dinner ready and waiting because I had better things to do! Maybe I would be answering posts on a message board, or drooling over the band’s new video. Sometimes I’d be cackling wildly over pictures of Simon with the best handlebar mustache I’d ever seen. Those things rarely happen now.
Since November of last year, nearly all of my time has been spent worrying. First it was our truck which needed a ridiculously costly repair, then a lay off which lasted for six months. A yet-to-be-completed huge family move, on top of trying to figure out how we were going to cover college tuition for both of our kids with only days to come up with it have rounded out my summertime and are currently leaking their way into autumn. No, summer didn’t feel like summer at all. No camping, no trips, and zero vacation. Aside from the couple of days I was in Santa Barbara house hunting, I haven’t really left the vicinity. Call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to some Duran news to take the edge off, whenever it should come.
During the moments when I am truly taking a deep breath and trying to center myself, I recognize the void that the fan community used to inhabit in my life. That isn’t to say I’m not still involved, but there is just a lot less to participate in. I miss it.
I haven’t meant to blog this late today, but I had to get enough done before I wouldn’t feel guilty for taking a break. Needless to say, I have worked hard today, but still have more that I hope to accomplish. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, though. Anyway, I’m pausing from all that to write this little blog post.
A week or so, I wrote a blog post focusing on new Nine Inch Nails ticket sale method, which you can read here. I got a number of responses to it, including comments here. Afterwards, I had lingering thoughts that I wanted to address here. Today, I’ll show my appreciation for Duran Duran ticket sales. Tomorrow, I dive deeper into the power of fans at shows.
Over the years, Rhonda and I have written lots about presales and buying tickets for shows. In most cases, those ticket buying events surrounded Duran Duran shows, but not always. Looking back, I suspect that the vast majority of reviews have criticized or complained in some way. For example, I distinctly remember expressing quite a bit of frustration when the summer 2016 shows went on sale as Ticketmaster’s sale went less than smoothly (due to Ticketmaster, I might add). All that stress came out at whatever blogs we wrote at the time. Likewise, I know that we have blogged plenty of times in which we discussed the time between announcement of a show and when the tickets went on sale. It is almost guaranteed that when Duran announces a show there will be fans who will complain about how quickly the tickets will go on sale or the timing of the sale.
In thinking about those blogs, we weren’t wrong to write them. Ticket sale outlets like Ticketmaster can and should do a better job. Adequate time in between press releases and sales is always appreciated. Yet, in thinking about how other bands have sold tickets, I really am thankful for Duran’s methods. Let’s start at the beginning. I am so glad that they have a fan club in which the members get to buy tickets ahead of the public. That is a super nice feature, one that does not get mentioned enough. This fact alone means that we have better chances to get tickets and to get better tickets.
Then, I think about the VIP packages. While, yes, one might argue that they offer the wrong things or that they are too expensive, but I am so grateful that they exist. They have given us plenty of chances to get really amazing seats. Has it always worked? No, of course not. There have been shows that we didn’t get tickets when we wanted them or didn’t get anywhere near what we wanted when it came to seat locations. In many cases, the experience of presales have been utterly stressful. Yet, overall, we have so benefitted from this feature. We have been able to be up front more times than we haven’t because Duran offered that possibility through the VIP packages. I would also say that while they are expensive, they are not as much as I have seen with other bands.
The fact that Duran does offer fan community members to buy tickets before the public as well as VIP packages has been so important to my fandom as I have been able to see fabulous shows from prime locations. Sometimes, I think, it is super important to appreciate what we have rather than complain about the flaws. I, for one, hopes that the band keeps these elements forever. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would welcome positive changes but I wouldn’t want them to get rid of presales or VIP packages. Ever.
This past weekend, the gift of a gleaming new April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor was posted on DuranDuranMusic for members. I gave it a listen yesterday afternoon, knowing I’d be blogging the highlights this morning. Roger and Katy covered a variety of subjects, and as always—I took notes and will cover the more notable topics here. If you want the full Kafe, I’d suggest getting your DDM membership!
Roger said that going in, he was concerned that the crowd would be different, and that they might struggle with the audience. Apparently the average attendee for Lollapalooza was 23. But then he saw a lineup and felt they’d fit in nicely. Katy asked him if he likes festivals, and he said yes. He likes playing outside in the elements, and says that if you have the right audience, there’s nothing like it.
I think back to the now infamous photos of the Argentina show and sure, I suppose he’s right. I’m not a big fan of “the elements”, but I can understand where the band is coming from. Someday I’d like to ask the band if it makes any difference at all whether they’re playing a smaller gig in front of 3000 real fans, or many more thousand that might not know their music as well. Judging from the way the band responds online – I’d have to think that while of course they love the fans, when you’re talking about an audience filled with thousands of people, as long as those people are responding – it doesn’t matter. To them, they’re all fans.
Katy also asked Roger if Lollapalooza was similar to Coachella. I thought this was an interesting question, particularly because it was something I’d wondered myself! To me it seemed the audiences were very different. I watched Coachella again recently – and the way the audience even responded was incredibly different. I felt the Coachella audience stood there waiting to be entertained, where in Argentina, it was far more a group experience. They were all in the show together. That said, Roger said they were very similar. I’m not really surprised he responded that way, either. Roger is on the drums, in the back, and I don’t know how much of that “crowd feeling” he is able to fully absorb or even notice! Whereas my line of thinking was more about the emotion of the audience, Roger stuck to aesthetics. “They were at similar times of the day” and the crowd size was similar. (in the same ballpark anyway!)
Most people know that the band is going out again in July for two more festivals. One is the Calgary Stampede, and the other is Electric Picnic. Katy asked him about those, and Roger let us all in on a little secret—he tries not to look at the tour dates until about three days before he leaves.
If I had an emoji sign with wide eyes that I felt I could post without getting into copyright trouble – I’d post it here. Use your imagination. This sends my slight OCD tendencies into OVERDRIVE. Oh my. I already have my hotel reservations for a trip I’m taking in July. I know how I’m going to get there and what time I’m going to leave…and it’s not even May! But then, I don’t have “a good group of people” doing that for me. It’s me. I book the trips. I drive the car, too! The difference of course is that I don’t tour often, I haven’t been doing this since I was twenty, and I don’t have other people doing the itinerary. There’s something really attractive of not having to be the one to worry about where I’m going though, and only having to show up to play. I wonder what that’s like….
Katy also tells him that he’s going to be missing his son’s birthday this year, and it is in that moment that I remind myself that yes, these guys really are still human. Roger sounded sad about missing Julian’s birthday – I think that’s a genuine drawback to being a musician. He says it’s part of the deal, you miss birthdays, school concerts, etc; and then Katy reminds him that he also gets to come home and be with his kids for months at a time and pick them up at school. (which he was getting ready to go do!) That is true, and is a benefit that these musicians have that most normal people do not. While the band is gone for extended periods to work, when they come home, they’re not working. (Studio time aside, because that’s totally different) Other people go on business trips, come home, and go back to the office.
What about Australia???
This is the question of the moment. Katy asks if the band is still going there or if they’ve shelved the idea. Now, I have no doubt people heard all the hope in the world in his voice, but I have to say that I did not. Roger said that they are waiting for just the right dates and venues, and IF that happens, then yes they’d like to go there. He said that Australia is one of their favorite places to visit, so it’s not about not wanting to go. It sounds to me as though it is purely about the business-side. It’s not worth going if they don’t have the right set of dates and venue.
In my opinion, it didn’t sound all that hopeful. I know there are a ton of rumors out there about playing with Chic, but judging purely from what Roger said, it doesn’t sound as though any of that is solid as of yet. As for the rest of the world? Nothing was mentioned at all. Whether that was due to time or because Katy chose to focus on the positive, I don’t know.
What is next?
Katy asked Roger what their plans are for the rest of the year (after July). At one point, Roger felt that they might end 2017 in the studio, and she was wondering if that was still possible. Interestingly enough, Roger says they are going to be doing more dates (no place was mentioned). He also said something about going somewhere special and filming it. He talked about how he thought they’d been touring Paper Gods for nearly three years now (While I can appreciate the thought that time flies – they’ve been touring Paper Gods since September of 2015, which means it will be two years. Yes, I checked the complete tour list!) and he said they’ve done a lot and would like to finish it out with it filmed. Then he said maybe after that they’d go into the studio, but nothing was really planned.
One thing I’ll note here is that Roger is really happy with just going with the flow. He seems perfectly content to go along with whatever is going to happen!
Rio turns 35 (Impossible!!!)
Katy mentioned to Roger that yes, in May of this year, Rio will be 35. After I picked myself up off the floor, I heard her ask him to recall ONE memory from that album. ‘John came into the studio one day and said, “We need to write a song we can open the set with.”….and that song became Rio.’ and then he laughed and said, “now it’s the closer.” Katy asked Roger if he felt much pressure with Rio. I was surprised that he said no. His feeling was that the first album had more pressure because they were still really learning how to play and how to be a band. For Rio, they had a backlog of material to choose from, and they were far more confident with their instruments. Roger even said it was an easy process, comparatively speaking to many of their albums which have not always been easy (I believe he would include Paper Gods in that description).
Oh! One thing that Katy asked – which is something I, too, have always wondered – was about that sound at the very beginning of Last Chance on the Stairway. She wondered if it was the sound of a cigarette being lit. I was really surprised though that Roger didn’t know! He said that he hadn’t listened to it back in years, but that it was probably a sound effect that Nick added at the very last-minute. Still no firm answer, but maybe Katy will ask Nick when she gets a chance. This conversation led to a discussion of smoking. Of course, when the band started out, everyone was smoking. Roger had a mantra to “never smoke before midnight.”
I don’t even get that…but OK. I guess if I lived at a club (Rum Runner) I’d probably have had some weird mantras too. Hell, as it is I say “Not without a hazmat suit!” (Don’t ask.)
Apparently Roger is a coffee drinker in the morning (me too, Roger me too…) and Katy is not, although she did have a brief coffee “thing” at one point.
So I should never invite Katy for coffee. And if I ever get close enough to invite Roger to chat – coffee might work in the morning. (Sure, I’m dreaming. Who cares?!?)
And about that birthday….
Roger has nothing really planned. Going to see his kids, his parents who live about two hours from him… but nothing super special. He comments that every decade seems to go faster.
I must wholeheartedly agree on that one. I’m actually worried about how quickly the 50’s are gonna go because my 40s have mostly flown by. Can’t we slow this down a bit?!? I still have a few years to go till I’m staring 50 head-on, but at this rate I’ll blink and it will be here. No thank you.
Katy ended the Kafe with a bit of a spoiler, saying that they may be doing something special for Rio’s 35th “Birthday” in May…which is pretty exciting. Looking forward to that!!
Yesterday afternoon I left work wearing a light weight coat, enjoying the warm wind as the sun was setting. By the time I woke up this morning, the temperature dropped significantly and I could clearly see snow on the rooftops near me. The weather reminded me that the end of the year is coming as is winter and upcoming holidays. Perhaps, some of the holidays you celebrate include ones that involve purchasing gifts for your loved ones. Maybe, some of your loved ones are people who identify as Duranies. Here are three gift options for you to consider:
– Custom made magnetised clamshell box with artwork by Alex Israel
– Seventeen kiss cut magnets printed four colours
– Four 12″ white vinyl records housed in bespoke sleeves
– Four art prints screen printed on Rainbow mirri board
– Thirty-six page booklet printed on 150gsm silk paper stock
– Individually numbered certificate, hand signed by DD & Alex Israel
– This is the only product gathering the complete set of songs recorded for the Paper Gods sessions, including exlusive versions of ‘Pressure Off’ and previously unreleased track ‘As Seen From A Distance’
– Limited to 350 copies worldwide
The Track Listing is as follows:
Vinyl 1. A1. Paper Gods (Feat. Mr Hudson) A2. Last Night In The City (Feat. Kiesza) A3. You Kill Me With Silence
B1. Pressure Off (Feat. Janelle Monae and Nile Rodgers) B2. Face For Today B3. Danceophobia
Vinyl 2. A1. What Are The Chances A2. Sunset Garage A3. Change The Skyline (Feat Jonas Bierre)
B1. Butterfly Girl B2. Only In Dreams B3. The Universe Alone
B1. As Seen From A Distance B2. On Evil Beach B3. Cinderella Ride
Vinyl 4. A1. Pressure Off (Night Version Feat. Janelle Monae and Nile Rodgers) B1. Pressure Off (Night Version Instrumental Feat. Janelle Monae and Nile Rodgers)
Obviously, most Duran fans focused above the fact that it contains a song called, “As Seen From A Distance,” which would be new to most (all??) of us. It also includes two night versions of “Pressure Off”. While most of us would love to get our hands on this package, it is priced at £ 300, which is well beyond most people’s budgets, including mine. If you do buy this or receive it as a gift, I would love a guest review of it!!!
Duran Duran Music’s New Gold Package
Duran Duran’s official fan community posted the following:
Now Available! In addition to Silver (which you may choose below) the brand new 2016/2017 GOLD level package which includes all of the exclusive content, contests and news included in the SILVER level (a $35 value) PLUS:
GOLD members receive everything in SILVER (a $35 value) PLUS:
• Brand new fan community exclusive gold foil Duran Duran logo’d t-shirt • Exclusive Duran Duran logo’d beanie/winter hat • Exclusive black ceramic coffee mug with gold Duran Duran “Paper Gods” logo • The classic DD logo’d Micro sticky note pad • Custom designed Paper Gods artwork & photograph postcard set • Exclusive custom designed Paper Gods album artwork stone drink coaster set • A welcome letter from John Taylor (reproduction)
* Note: There is no membership card in this package * Note: Please allow 6-8 weeks (usually sooner) to receive your package
I am usually one to jump at the chance to be the new gold package as I’m a sucker for Duran memorabilia, but this time I opted to just renew with the silver package. There just was not enough to tempt me. Besides, I have to say my money for those DC shows. That said, if you happen to receive the gold package, we would love a guest blog from you.
New Items in the DD Shop:
Duran’s official web store has some new items for sale as well. Probably the most exciting of the new items is the official calendar for 2017. Maybe people in the fan community were disappointed that there was not one available last year. This one features live shots from the Paper Gods Tour:
Of course, there are plenty of other items for sale in the store, including t-shirts, tour book, cell phone cases, magnets, patches and more from this current era. If you are interested in items from older eras, there are some from All You Need Is Now, Red Carpet Massacre, Astronaut and even the reunion. Helpful hint: If you are a member of Duran Duran Music, you get a 10% discount at the store.
I’ve been trying to sort out yesterday in my head. Let me just put it out there: I’m still trying to figure out what shows we bought tickets for and where we’re sitting. This isn’t because we’re doing that many shows, it’s because in hindsight – it all feels like a blur. Or maybe it’s more like it feels as though I was hit by a semi-truck (think “lorry” if you’re in the UK) and I’m laying on the highway in a heap as the traffic continues to buzz by, not even noticing that I’m there.
Yeah, that’s about the size of it.
I want to acknowledge a few things:
There were people who had fantastic buying experiences. These people, by and large, were also folks who bought either “Ultimate” or “Gold” level VIP packages. I didn’t see any complaints from anyone who received a front row seat off the bat, and I didn’t really see many complaints from people who wanted gold unless there just weren’t those tickets left.
Ticket buying has very little to do with the band. The band plays the shows. They deliver on their end. There is a business side to all of this though, and we must accept and acknowledge that the band has the right (and responsibility) to be in business and make money.
DDHQ, on the other hand, is in fact that business side. Badmouthing DDHQ does very little to solve problems or to draw attention to issues fans had with pre-sales, so we’re just not. I respect that I cannot do their job(s), and I have no idea what it is like to manage a band. Period.
Ticketmaster, however, IS the problem.
For quite a while yesterday morning, I really considered my issues with the pre-sales to be user-error. Maybe I didn’t click fast enough? Maybe I paused a bit too long before deciding to hit “bronze”? Perhaps I was just ticked-off about the price of tickets being so much more expensive than the last tour? Maybe all of the above?? I was, and am, willing to accept that at least part of it was me. I’ve had good luck with tours recently. I have had great seats. That luck can’t last forever. But then I started reading about the experiences of others and realized that some of the same crazy things that happened to me happened to other people. That’s just weird.
What were some of these crazy things? (and I am only listing things that I’ve seen mentioned in multiple places by multiple people)
“CAPTCHA” codes not working: entering the code only to be told it’s not valid and having to do it again and again, or needing to close the window and start all over again, resulting in losing time.
No need to first go into DDM using your own user name and password before getting to the tour page, clicking on the gig of your choice and then being transferred over to Ticketmaster: Ultimately what I’m saying is that there was no firewall, so basically as long as one had the password that was sent in the email to fans announcing the pre-sale, you were able to participate in the pre-sale. Part of the reason (most of the reason?) we all join DDM to begin with is so that we have first access to those pre-sale tickets. I cannot tell you how many people have sent messages and told me on Facebook and Twitter that they won’t rejoin DDM next year because it doesn’t seem to help them.
Tickets in the process of being paid for disappearing out of carts: error messages pop-up on the screen saying something like “oops, your tickets are no longer available”. When this happened to me, I thought it was because I had inadvertently taken too long, but then I glanced at the timer – and I had 7 minutes left to complete the transaction I was making for 2 Gold level VIP tickets. Naturally when I went back to get another pair – there were none available. Can’t cry over spilt milk, unless of course there are 50 other cases of this happening to other people – which there were. That’s just wrong.
Having to enter the DDM pre-sale password over and over and over again. Isn’t once really enough??
For more than one venue, gold-level tickets were coming up in odd places, like several rows in back of that 6th row where Gold should end. I have been told that in one of the venues – Mandalay Bay in Vegas – where this happened, it’s because the venue’s row numbering “system” skips rows. In other places though, because it happened to other people in other places as well, as I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook.
Lastly, and perhaps the most importantly: when (if) the MAP system comes up (where you can see for yourself what seats are available and choose them yourself), seats are coming up as “available” that have already been purchased. Unfortunately, when this issue was presented to Ticketmaster – they simply said it was “impossible”. Except that it’s not because multiple people had it happen this morning before the option to use the map system stopped coming up and all you could do was click on “find my seats.” I guess we’ll all see for certain when we get to the shows and someone else has the same (valid) ticket to sit in the same seat as a Duranie, won’t we?
Those are just a few of the issues I saw repeatedly from fans…and comments continue to be posted to our Facebook page even today. As I’ve said before, I recognize and respect the right of the band to make business decisions that fans don’t necessarily enjoy or understand. It happens and it continues to be a balancing act. We as consumers also “enjoy” the right to choose how and when to participate in the transactional relationship, which is it’s own balancing act. While it may not be our choice (as fans) for Ticketmaster to be the ticketing service for pre-sales and fan ticket sales – it IS our choice whether or not we choose to participate. That balance is of course knowing that if we choose not to participate, we likely will not see the band on tour. I don’t know very many people willing to miss out on Duran Duran purely to take a stand, and DDHQ is going to do whatever they need to ensure the best profit for the band. That’s business, like it or not.
As a fan, it IS disheartening when things happen that make fandom feel more like work than fun. Days like yesterday tend to make me forget how I feel when I’m standing up and screaming in front of the band. In my craziest moments I may have even wondered if I should just stay home and not bother. I’ll just say this and leave it for the rest of you to ponder: when the time comes for these gigs to happen and you walk into the venue, handing your ticket to the agent to scan and then excitedly walking with purpose to your seat, sitting down and staring at the darkened stage with growing anticipation as you see that the clock ticks ever closer to the moment Simon walks out and begins singing “Paper Gods”, are you really going to even think twice about the ticket buying process to get there? Are you going to be thinking about how Ticketmaster asked you to re-enter the CAPTCHA code four times before it worked? When the band starts playing Planet Earth, Rio or Pressure Off, are you going to let any of that enter your mind?
That, my friends, is why Ticketmaster stays in business.
There is no way for me to put this lightly: I really hate pre-sale days, particularly when they begin (for me) before it is light outside. I got my coffee, sat down and prepared to do battle.
To be honest, I am still trying to absorb what happened to me this morning…and I’m trying not to be angry with the ticketing system, and be thankful that unlike many I have seen on Twitter and Facebook today, I do have tickets. I am seeing the band come July.
I hope they’ll be ready. <wink>
I read a lot of comments and responses this morning. As always, the responses run the spectrum from elation, “I got front row to Philly!” all the way to comments from people who seem to have lost not just a battle, but an entire war. “Pre-sales were a DISASTER“. Or even better, “@DailyDuranie it’s bad business for a band to piss off fan club members. 6 shows, 3 with not a single tix pulling up, other 3 shit seats”
My own experiences ran raggedly like a dog, from one end to the other of the entire spectrum. One show we ended up with nothing because the seats we pulled for Bronze seemed more like regular seats from back in the 17th row. Why pay VIP on top of that? It didn’t make sense to me…and definitely not to our head purchaser for that show, Amanda. We’ll try again later for those. We bought the 16th row seats offered for another out of sheer desperation after having a set of third row seats in my cart that I was in the middle of paying for when a window popped up on Ticketmaster informing me that my tickets were now unavailable. WTF?!? Fine. I didn’t need those Gold VIP tickets on my credit card anyway! Bronze it is, even though I am not sure I feel good about spending so much on tickets so far back. After falling to the ground in defeat, tired and breathless….Amanda and I got up, shook the dust off, tended to some gaping wounds, and went back in for another round with a brand new strategy that is going to involve selling kidneys (anyone need a slightly used one?? Let me know).
Our next battle proved every bit as nasty as the first, but I soon realized that I didn’t even need to bother going in and logging into my DDM account to get to the Ticketmaster pre-sales. I just needed to know the pre-sale password. Fabulous, except that meant that everyone else on the planet who knew that password could do the same. That fan letter was shared about a zillion times online, any scalper worth their salt could get in with ease, and Ticketmaster did not hold up their end of the agreement by not bothering to uphold the DDM firewall. Some say it didn’t work, but it did for me each time I bought tickets during this particular pre-sale at 10am my time. What a mess. Amanda had tickets in her cart only to have them suddenly removed. (and I read this many more times over the course of the morning on Twitter) We bought gold at one show only to end up in 6th row, but we did have success at our final show, where we ended up with 2nd row center. I am not complaining about those results.
I know this shattered feeling…trampled but still breathing….
Thankfully pre-sales were over and I could live to see another day. But then I realized I still had to blog today. Really?!? Shattered doesn’t even begin to describe my exhaustion right now, and I still have a college tour to take this afternoon with my son!! (Going from fan back to mom in less than an hour…)
I’d be very interested to read what types of experiences others had this morning, keeping in mind that this is purely about the process. I have no doubts that despite the mess with ticket buying, once we are at the show it will be a great time. The band delivers on their end. It’s the rest of the insanity I am interested in reading. Share your tales of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll compile them into something readable tomorrow!
Today is a big day for Daily Duranie. Why, you ask? Well, Amanda and I decided to finally jump into creating a community with both feet…and have created the Daily Duranie message board!
The idea of creating a community wasn’t something that came across our minds as we began the blog. We’ve said numerous times that our “Grand Plan”, was just to write and see where it took us. We recognized that we found a lot of fault with Duran Duran Music – the paid fan community, but we weren’t really offering much in the way of solutions. So, over time we’ve offered some solutions (Such as hiring the two of us to run it – and we’re still 100% serious about that idea!), but we’ve also tried to pave our own trail and offer the community a “place.” It seems only fitting that we add a message board to that mix.
Facebook is a fantastic place. There are many Duranies from all over the world, tons of groups to join, pages to follow (like Daily Duranie!), and people to connect with. What Amanda and I have found with Facebook is that there IS no central place for Duran Duran to really chat without a post being lost amongst many other posts. Diehards get lost in the shuffle, and that sense of community that Amanda and I feel is so important, tends to be watered down by what feels like hundreds of comments like, “Oh wow, they’re still around! I haven’t seen them since 1985!” There is absolutely a place for those fans in Duranland – it’s just not necessarily the same place that long time, diehard fans wish to be all the time, and that’s OK. Twitter works similarly – it’s a great place to come and openly share short bursts of thought. However, it too has limitations. You can’t really get into a long discussion with others quite as easily, and it can be difficult to follow.
Message boards can work to help in that situation. We think our message board will be a good place for fans to call home because on one hand, in-depth discussions can be had without someone asking where Andy has gone; but pictures can also be posted and properly “admired”…and let’s face it, we can laugh at some of the funnier things the band does, too. There’s room for everyone, whether you’re a diehard Duranie “lifer” or someone who is rather new to the idea of traveling to see the band and spending your extra time reading a daily blog on Duran Duran.
Yes, many a message board has come and gone. Some might even say that the time has passed. Oddly (and this was definitely not planned), on this day four years ago – the message board that Amanda and I called “home” was put to rest. Traffic had all but died out there, Facebook and Twitter being a little more of an attraction for many, I suppose. Perhaps for some, that still may be true. Rest assured, we are not expecting this one board to be the answer for all. It’s one piece of a much larger puzzle, or an added benefit of Daily Duranie. We’re looking forward to the party – and the bonus with the message board is that it’s always going to be there, 24/7 – for anyone who wishes to join in the fun. Otherwise, it’s gonna be me and Amanda trading posts, and we’re 100% totally OK with that!
Our Daily Duranie message board is a kind of Duran Duran themed hideaway – fans can go there, chat about the band (and other things) to their heart’s content, with little outside notice or influence. One doesn’t need to worry about their mom stumbling into a thread talking about John Taylor, for instance (because similar things have happened to me, for instance!)…and if you want a little more separation from your real life and your fandom life, you can have that on a message board. Additionally, this message board is a great place to plan meet-up parties, announce and plan touring information…and even plan the next convention for 2017!
I’m very excited to announce that the Daily Duranie Message Board is open for business as of this morning. A link to the board can be found on our home page (message board – pretty self-explanatory, no?). I’ve created the initial framework, and I think the basic “house” is complete – but we need all of YOU to make it a real home. Please come and join in the housewarming party!! All are welcome, and I sincerely hope we see many, if not all of you on there!!
I was fortunate enough to snag a Platinum package for DD’s historic show at the Hollywood Bowl through the fan club pre-sale. I say “fortunate” because, subsequently, I met many fellow Duranies at the pre-show reception who had tried and failed to get the Platinum package! (Ed note: Fun Fact – Amanda and Rhonda were two more of those people!!) The most exciting thing about the package — apart from the front-row seat — was the backstage tour. Since I was also lucky enough to be sitting right in front of Daily Duranies Rhonda and Amanda during the show, I promised to do a write-up of the backstage tour for Daily Duranie!!
I didn’t really know what to expect from the backstage tour, but I have to say that the communication prior to the event was handled very well. DDVIP sent very detailed instructions that were very helpful. Here are a couple relevant excerpts from the email that was sent to Platinum package purchasers!!
Greetings from Duran Duran Headquarters!
Thank you so much for purchasing a PLATINUM package to the band’s show at the legendary Hollywood Bowl on October 1st. We look forward to seeing you for the backstage tour and VIP pre-show reception! You will check in at the table in front of the Museum Garden. … Please arrive to check in between 5:15pm and 5:30pm SHARP. If you are not there at 5:30pm you can still enjoy the reception but will miss the backstage tour.
Feel free to text if you have any URGENT issues. Please include your first and last name in your message. Please ONLY use her number the day of the show.
A few important notes:! !
– There is NO meet and greet associated with the reception or backstage tour and the band will not be in attendance!
– Please stay with the group and if you see a performer backstage do NOT approach them unless the concierge has introduced you to them!
– If you stray from the group backstage you will be removed from the venue and not issued a refund (so please do not try to wander into dressing rooms etc). Please stay with the tour. ! !
Armed with this information, I set out from my Beverly Hills hotel around 4:30, expecting to arrive at the Bowl around 5:15, based on what the locals had told me about travel time. Note to self: do not believe the locals about travel time!!
(Rhonda’s note: actually a REAL local will always tell you that if you are in the LA/Hollywood area on any given day, at any given time, with the possible exception of like 3-3:45am, you can expect a drive of at least an hour, no matter whether you’re going down the block, or five miles away… or even out of the city completely. Our traffic is horrendous here. Just saying. – a Los Angeles Native)
It was only due to my cab driver’s miraculous (reckless?) driving, including a U-turn in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, that I made it to the Bowl in time to take the tour. Truth be told I was a few minutes early, but terrified that I’d miss the tour, I actually resorted to texting the concierge for the event. Let’s call her “A.” I texted A and told her my situation. She was very friendly and understanding. She didn’t say they’d wait if I was late, but as I chewed on my nails,consulting Google Maps every few seconds to see how far I was from the Bowl (in case I needed to leave the cab and run for it), she joked with me by text about how I was getting closer and how I had better tip the cabbie well (I did).
After checking in at the VIP table, I waited for a few minutes, and then A and her partner-in-crime for the tour — we’ll call him “L” — gathered us up to begin the tour. There were about six of us on the tour, and I got the impression that a couple of people didn’t show (they’re probably still sitting in traffic). The group was much smaller than I expected, but it explains why it was so hard to get a Platinum seat! At this point, A and L introduced themselves. They have both worked with the Duran organization for some time, and while they didn’t give us their formal titles, it seems that they are part of a logistics team that coordinates between front office, back office and fans. And, apparently, that includes giving tours. L did most of the talking and, as we were led away from the meeting table through various security checkpoints, he explained that we would be able to take pictures on some parts of the tour and not on others.
The first thing we saw was the backlot, where the tour buses and the trucks that carry the stage and musical equipment park. We did not get to go on any tour busses. Then we were led inside to the area where the performers’ dressing rooms are. This is where that line from the email came into my head: “if you see a performer backstage do NOT approach them unless the concierge has introduced you to them.” It was going to be hard to restrain myself should we run into one of the members of Duran Duran. I’ll end the suspense now and tell you that we didn’t see them. 🙁
The first thing we saw was the warm-up room where John and Roger warm up. In it was a stripped down drum kit, a bass and a small amp, so Rog and John can get their groove on pre show.
Across the hall from that room was the dressing room for “female performers,” presumably Anna Ross, Jessie Warner, and the ladies from Chic and Clean Bandit. I don’t remember seeing any dressing rooms with “stars” and specific names on them (because I definitely would have taken pictures had I seen that).
Farther down the hall was the my favorite part of the tour: the wardrobe room. L and A brought us into the room and introduced us to Jeffrey, the band’s wardrobe manager. Jeffery was very welcoming and friendly, telling us all kinds of interesting things. Here are some of the tidbits I remember:
• Each of the guys has an array of pieces in the room from which they can pick and Jeffrey doesn’t know what they’ll pick from show to show.
• Jeffrey predicted that Simon might wear his black, sequined tuxedo jacket since the show was so special (hello, it’s the Hollywood Bowl!). The tuxedo jacket is an Yves Saint Laurent, and Jeffrey says that the band have acquired a fondness for his pieces lately.
• As we all know now, that prediction turned out not to be accurate, as Simon wore a black and white motorcycle jacket. The black and white leather jacket that Simon wore for the show was made by Jeffrey. If memory serves, it’s a knock off of another jacket but made from slightly lighter materials so it’s not so warm under stage lights.
Jeffrey was very gracious and allowed us to take pictures and, yes, to touch some of the pieces. I could have stayed in that room all night, but we were off to our next stop, which was down the hall and down the path that the performers take from dressing room to stage.
We were escorted to the stage entrance area and allowed to walk right up to the edge of stage right, but not to walk out on stage, especially since there were already folks in the seats, waiting for the show to start.
When we returned from the edge of the stage, L and A introduced us to several other members of the Duran management and touring team, including Wendy Laister (a name many of you probably recognize – she’s Duran Duran’s manager) and Orla, their tour manager. Wendy, Orla and a few other folks were huddled a small room that appeared to be the nerve center for the operation, and Orla took a few moments out of a very busy time to chat with us.
In fact, Orla said that she and the team had been at the Bowl since 6 or 7 a.m. that morning (it was 6 p.m. by this time). She talked to us about the demands and the intricacies of managing the tour and mentioned that there were several different sets of stage equipment. While one was being set up and then broken down at the Hollywood Bowl, another was on its way to the next gig and, once the Hollywood Bowl set was broken down, it would be off to another future show. It reminded me of what it must be like to be an air traffic controller — managing hundreds of small details, all in real-time.
She also talked to us about how the sound is monitored and how the mix in the guys’ earphones is achieved, each customized to ensure they hear what they need to hear in order to keep in time and tune.
After we said goodbye to Orla, we headed back outside. As we headed back out past the loading bays and the trucks, back toward the public areas, we did spot one Mr. Nile Rogers sitting outside in a chair, chatting with another fellow who was working the show. While I’m sure we all wanted to call out to Nile and/or run up to him, we didn’t. His head was turned, and he was engrossed in conversation, but I think if he had seen us, he probably would have come over to say hello, based on his graciousness in dealing with fans (signing autographs, posing for selfies, etc.) before and after the Chic set.
As we walked out, I was chatting with A and told her that I enjoyed the tour and that I was really impressed with the way that the pre-sale and the arrangements for the tour had been handled by Duran’s management and Crowdsurge, in contrast to some of the experiences with past companies. She was pleased to hear it and said they are always looking for ways to make the fan experience better and special.
Perhaps most impressive, apart from getting to fondle Simon’s sparkly leather pants (not while he was in them, sadly), was the hospitality and warmth that everyone we encountered on the tour displayed toward us. L and A really were great ambassadors for the band, and even during a very busy time, all of the team members we encountered seemed genuinely happy that we were there, entertained our questions and thanked us for being there.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I hope everyone who wants a Platinum Package is able to receive one, should Duran offer it as part of the 2016 tour packages. See you all in 2016!
Janet has been a Duranie since 1982 when she was in high school (no fair guessing her age). She lives in St. Petersburg, FL, is a Corporate Communications exec for a global bank, and enjoys documentary film and kayaking/snorkeling in her spare time. A lifelong Simon fan, she had the great pleasure of meeting him (as well as Dom and Roger) at a pub after a show in Chicago in 2011. At last count, Janet has seen the band about 15 times — traveling as far as Milan, LA and Chicago — and has plans to see as many shows in 2016, both foreign and domestic, as her work schedule and financial advisor will allow.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!