Tag Archives: Duranies

Memories of The Belasco Theatre 2016, or “GA lines aren’t that bad”

A couple of years ago on this very day, my husband kindly drove my friends and I up to LA for a show at the Belasco Theatre. It was a very warm day for it only being May, but we found a shady spot to spread out, and wait the day away in the GA line.

By contrast, today it is raining, and cool – at least by “Los Angeles-in-May” standards. Oh, and Duran Duran is NOT playing today. Yes, there is that, too.

I remember the day outside The Belasco well. Despite my plans to sit down and relax, I found myself up and walking around, talking to everyone I knew. The hours seemed to fly by as I chatted away with fellow fans from all over. I am one of the first people to say that I don’t like GA shows (I really don’t), but I have to say that standing (sitting) in line with everyone all day is not all that terrible. In a lot of very bizarre ways, it’s like a giant pre-show party.  You see people you haven’t seen in a long time, you gab about the band (of course), music, other shows you’ve attended, and maybe someone goes on a food run.

While sure, the waiting can be monotonous, and sure, I suppose it can be a bit cutthroat when you have people around you who are more concerned with being at the rail and loudly asserting that no one dare get in front of them than they are with making (and keeping) friends. I find that many times, those people are the minority, and in the end, don’t need to make a difference in my evening unless I allow it. For the majority of people who are there to have a good time, even if they end up in second, third row or beyond, I can think of far worse ways to spend a day.

The weird thing is that I did know a lot of people in that line at the Belasco!  It was a stark contrast to even a few years prior, when I went to a show at the Mayan Theatre. That show was also GA and required many hours of waiting in a line, yet I really didn’t know that many people then. I kept mostly to myself, talking with my husband and a couple who stood behind us, although I did say hi to the few people I recognized.

Everyone I know who isn’t a huge fan of a specific band the way I am always asks me how I can keep going to shows. They don’t mean financially – although my husband has certainly asked me that very question over the years! Ha ha! They just can’t understand why someone would want to see the same band fifty or sixty times, or more than once during a tour. The thought of going to fifteen shows during a single tour blows their minds. Yet, as we all know, my experience is tame compared to some who have gone to twice or even three times as many shows.

My answer is always the same: it isn’t purely about the band. In some ways, my life might be a lot easier if it were ONLY about Duran Duran! For me, seeing my friends is everything. I don’t live near them. Sometimes, weeks go by without even a single text…and those are just my close friends. There are many people that I just don’t keep in that close of touch with, yet I do consider friends. I see them when I go to shows. I look forward to seeing and hugging those people as much as I do seeing the band. After all, Duran Duran is only on stage for about 90 minutes these days (give or take). What in the hell do I do with the rest of the time while I’m away from home?  I talk to my friends. We get together. We go to lunch or dinner.  We do video blogs. (this is true…and we’ll do them just about anywhere, right Amanda?)  We have vodka tonics or sodas in to-go cups with lids that don’t fit! We try to squeeze in as much time together as we possibly can during the time we’re gathered.

 

 

I don’t know how I missed out on all of that for so long. The Belasco show was in 2016. The Mayan show was in 2011. Before the reunion, I’d only gone to a few Duran Duran shows, and I definitely didn’t know anyone from the fan community. In a lot of ways, I think I’m making up for lost time, now. When I think to my friends in the UK or even a few on the east coast – I can’t help but be a little envious. They grew up together. They spent their teenage years going to shows, waiting in the GA line (and yes, even waiting for band members outside of studios). I spent mine doing anything but all of that. I didn’t meet my touring buddies and best friend until after I’d already grown up, gotten married and had children. So now, I don’t miss an opportunity to go and be with them. It is a truth that is sometimes difficult for my family, but it is something that I don’t want to give up.

Yesterday, I had a student and parent at my desk at school. I was looking something up for them on my computer and they noticed my mousepad. It is one of my prized possessions these days – Amanda had it made for me. It is filled with pictures she and I had taken at various Duran Duran shows. I always smile when I look at it, even during the toughest days at work, and lately – there have been quite a few. Anyway, they wanted to know who those people were (the student, who is in middle school and is now one of my very favorites thought that one of the men must be my husband. HA). I explained that they were Duran Duran which of course led to a full discussion of how many shows I’d been to, who was my favorite band member, and of course – this blog – which I honestly try NOT to publicize at work. The question asked by the parent was simple “how long do you think you can really keep going to these shows and not feel silly?”

My answer? “How long can Simon and the band keep going?  They’re older than I am…and I’m not going to give up before they do.”

Note to the band: YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!

-R

 

From Wembley to Website – my family

Get out your Live from London DVD’s, everyone.

On this date in 2004, Duran Duran played at Wembley Arena in London. During their Reunion tour, they played Wembley five times in the month of April and first of May.

April 13, 14, 24, 30, May 1.

The shows were sold out (of course!) and, lucky for all of us whether we were there or weren’t smart enough to board a plane and get ourselves, there – we have the Live from London DVD to enjoy.

I wasn’t even there, and I still believe the shows were electric. The band was on fire, and these were moments to never forget. It is difficult to believe it has already been fourteen years since those Wembley Arena shows. Sometimes I feel like I just blinked and ended up in 2018. Other times, I think about all that has happened.

In 2004, I was a fan but I barely knew a soul. I hadn’t even really been  to more shows than I could count on one hand. I didn’t have fellow Duran fans as friends, and trust me – blogging wasn’t even on the radar. I knew nothing about fandom other than I felt really silly about admitting that at one point, I’d spend entire afternoons scouring magazines for pictures and information about Duran Duran, or that I mapped out my entire bedroom so that I could plan how I was going to rearrange my posters. In 2004, I regained my sanity by joining a message board, and making friends with people that had NO problem admitting that they too, loved Duran Duran.

I write about it all the time – and every single time I do, someone responds, thanking me for writing the words they couldn’t. Before I joined Duranduranfans.com – I was isolated. My world consisted of taking my two kids (who are now nearly 19 and 21…and have a younger sibling who is about to turn 10!) to and from school. My socializing consisted of the ten minutes before and after school where I would stand and chat with other parents outside of the classroom.  I didn’t have friends, I didn’t “do lunch” (I still really don’t do any of that OC “ladies who lunch” crap. My real friends don’t live here and I’m pretty proud of that, actually.) Even so, I can honestly say my life was pretty damn dismal at the time. I should have been very happy – I had two beautiful kids, I was going to school, which I enjoy – but I wasn’t. I didn’t feel satisfied.

(I still have work to do)

I was looking for something. Anything. I needed a hobby, an interest…(and probably a job but we’re not going to talk about that) I felt SO unsatisfied with my life. For crying out loud, I was the president of my local MOMS Club, and then became an Area Coordinator for them purely out of boredom. I needed something. It was by luck that I found DDF, and that I was even brave enough to begin posting there.

The first women who were there (and yes, it was all women for quite some time) – Robin, RovOstrov & JTDuran, they’re the first people I really “met” online. They made it OK for me to be a Duranie again. I will never, ever be able to thank them enough because what they really did was teach me that it was perfectly OK for me to be ME. In a lot of ways, they saved me, or at least they helped me to save myself.

The only way I can even sort of describe how I felt that year was to ask you to imagine being thirsty and finding a natural spring somewhere. At first, you ask yourself whether or not you should even drink the water. I mean, you might get sick, right? But then, you convince yourself that since it’s a spring – chances are minimal and it’s probably healthier than the tap water you’re drinking at home. So you take a tentative sip. You sit back and let the coolness wash over you. I mean, you can feel that water hit your belly as you swallow and it feels great. So you drink more. Before you know it, you’re grinning from ear to ear, and filling up your water jug. You’re contemplating how you might be able to take more of it home with you because that water is so good you’re never going to be able to go back to just having tap water ever again.

Finding this community was just like that. No, it’s not perfect and yes, the people have changed a lot. Even so, it’s home for me. It isn’t purely about the band, or about the message boards, and it isn’t even about this blog so much as it is that this is my family.

Not that long ago, I tweeted to Dom that he had been around so long that he was a part of this crazy family whether he liked it or not.  It is true. We don’t all get along, and we haven’t all been fans for 40 years – but we’re a family. It takes all of us, from the band, the touring band, roadies, and management to fans, bloggers, website owners and everyone else in between – to make this fan community a family. Through good times, and really bad ones, it’s home.

-R

Convention update

Hi everyone, Rhonda here – not that it’s unusual for me to blog on a Monday, but it’s me. Anyway, I wanted to give a very brief update on convention plans. Many have asked us about it, and I want to be as clear as possible.

First of all, both Amanda and I would like to have a convention this year. Our friend Jason at the Hard Rock worked to get a very nice deal together for us, and we appreciate his efforts. At this point in time, however, we are struggling with two things: Money (for deposits) and time.

The money part is simple: it costs money for deposits, and while a few thousand dollars may not seem like a lot – I can assure you that it absolutely is when it is your money, you’re on a limited budget, and there’s some concern about whether or not you’d get it back.  We have had some discussion about doing a sort of Kickstarter where we offer various ticket packages and other opportunities so that we could earn the money for convention costs. We would offer everything from a way for people to support the convention, to VIP packages for the entire weekend. The hope would be to raise enough money where we could pay the deposits without Amanda and I having to be on the hook financially.

That leads me to the second issue: time. There is never really enough of that.  I’m finding that I have to devote my extra time to other personal family things right now. That may change in the next few weeks, or it may not. This is a time where I’d give my eye-teeth for additional help, but I know that most people just want to GO to the convention and not have to plan one. I just am not sure if I can devote all of the time necessary for it to be a success, and I can’t make that determination just yet.

This is not the update I would have wanted to give several weeks or months back. Life has a crazy way of changing and I sometimes struggle to keep up. I will be keeping Amanda updated with what’s going on, and from there we will make some decisions. That’s really the best I can do right now. No, it’s not where I wanted to be or how I wanted to do it – but it’s what I have to work with right now. I realize that some of you need time to plan for travel and so forth, and I apologize for not being able to give better answers right now.

-R

Duran Duran at the Rum Runner, 1980

There are mornings that I sit down to this laptop and don’t really know where to begin. I’m feeling that way right now. Beginnings are simply just a starting point. It is what happens after that decision to begin that matters most. Sometimes, those auspicious beginnings aren’t even noticed at the time. The notice comes much later.

Today, very much in hindsight, we celebrate one of those beginnings, although I’m not sure we should really call it a beginning.  On this day in 1980, Duran Duran opened for a band named Fashion at the Rum Runner in Birmingham.

There does seem to be some confusion on social media about what this day actually represents. It was not the first gig Duran Duran played with the classic lineup, for example.  That came a bit later, in July of 1980. (see the timeline on duranduran.com)

This was also not the first gig Duran Duran played. Their first show was nearly a year earlier, at Birmingham Polytechnic, on April 5, 1979. The band formed during the year prior – in 1978 – although as we all know, it was not yet with the lineup we all recognize.

What this day does represent, however; was the first Duran Duran gig at the Rum Runner, at least to the best knowledge of those who painstakingly compiled the full Duran Duran tour list on dd.com. We know that John, Nick and Roger were there that night, along with Jeff Thomas singing (Simon didn’t audition until May), and Alan Curtis on guitar (Andy didn’t answer the Melody Maker ad until April). They opened for Fashion, a band we don’t often hear about, who also rehearsed at the Rum Runner. It’s kind of wild to think that at one point, Duran Duran was opening for other club bands. Yet as time wore on, Duran Duran became the band to be remembered.

It is somewhat apropos that a picture of Roger visiting the site was posted and tweeted recently. It is difficult to think about that area of Birmingham and not smile. I’m sure that has got to be the same reaction that many of you have, and I’m thankful we can all share those kinds of “memories”, even if we weren’t all there in person. I think of the Rum Runner as a special place in my own history, yet I really didn’t know anything of it other than what I read until much later in life.

When I think about places I wished I’d experienced, the Rum Runner comes to mind every time. Yeah, I would have loved being in that club and part of that scene (although I think in reality we all know just from looking at me that I’d have never quite fit in). I would have loved every second of watching the band grow and come into their own. Of course, I write that full-well knowing that the appreciation of such things only comes with hindsight. Even so, I find myself wishing I could have been there to have been a part of it all from the start.

Was this show really a beginning? I’m not really sure. As I’m writing this, I can certainly see why the band hasn’t announced an exact date of anniversary to celebrate DD40. Do they celebrate the moment John and Nick decided to start a band? What about the first gig – and if they do, is it really the “beginning” when more than half of the members weren’t even a part of it yet? What about the first gig at the Rum Runner?  How about the first gig that the classic lineup we all know and recognize played together?  It is all very vague, yet—at least in my opinion—all worthy of celebration.

Then again, maybe I’m just in the mood for a party.

To me, this date marks the beginning of the Rum Runner era for Duran Duran, and provides a perfectly good reason to post this video of Planet Earth filmed at the Rum Runner. I love this video because up until the DVD for Greatest was released, I’d never seen it – so it was a complete surprise (and an Easter Egg on the DVD)! I don’t think I had seen many pictures of what the Rum Runner looked like on the inside before I saw this, so when I watch the video, I really try to absorb the vibe. In a weird way, it is a little reminiscent of the club I used to go to on the Redondo Beach pier while I was in college, called Fashions. I love it!

I’m sure most Duranies have seen this video by now, but it’s still one of my favorites. I love the idea of watching the video, imagining what it was like in the club on any given night while the band played. I don’t know very many fans who were Rum Runner regulars back in the day, but can you imagine being one of them, watching Duran Duran skyrocket to fame?  If you haven’t seen the video, what better day to watch?!?

-R

 

Help a Fellow Duranie!

Last week, I got word that a distant cousin of mine was in the hospital. Before I go further, I should explain that I don’t know him well, and that after an initial scare, he’s making good progress.  However, he had an aortic dissection, which caught my eye. My mom has an aortic aneurysm, as does one of her sisters – and a dissection is a possible eventuality. One of my mom’s brothers had a massive heart attack two weeks after his 50th birthday, and another cousin of hers died (the mother of the distant cousin I mentioned above) from an aortic aneurysm. So, it’s probably fair to say that heart problems seem to abound in my mom’s family, if not aortic aneurysms specifically.  But I digress.

I think it was the very next day that I saw something on Instagram from a Duranie – someone I have met personally – about an aortic dissection. She was in the hospital, and from what I can gather, she’s lucky she survived. Two of these stories in the same week happening to people I know? That’s crazy! I said as much to this Duranie, who many of you reading may know or have heard of – Amanda Pants.

Amanda is a vibrant, friendly Duranie. I met her during the Paper Gods tour. She has this vibe about her—as though she not just living life, but getting every possible ounce of joy out of each moment—that is engaging and magnetic. She is someone who I really can’t envision bad things happening to, yet I’m certain she’s been through many of the same (or more) struggles that we’ve all had. I only met Amanda and talked with her during a few moments at the shows where I saw her, so my impressions of her are merely just instinctual. She is positive, and has grabbed life by the tail in a way I’ve never been able to manage. If I ever tried to be so colorful and vibrant, it would come off completely fake and wrong—yet on her, it’s natural, organic, and very real.

Seeing her, or at least part of her, in a hospital bed, complete with newly minted scars from surgery, was a total, unwelcome, surprise. But the good news, as she put it, was that she didn’t die on Saturday. She survived.

The next photo I saw from her was of a lot of prescriptions. I’ve seen the piles of drugs my brother-in-law had to take each day, and this was pretty similar. I’m lucky, as I only have my blood pressure medicines and an allergy pill to take each day. Yet, I still struggle to afford them while my husband is out of work. Don’t even bother talking to me about Affordable Healthcare. Insurance for my family, even with my husband out of work, is over $1800 a month. COBRA insurance is exactly the same. Walt brings home less than that in unemployment each month, and like everyone else in the world, we still have other bills and our mortgage to pay, much less have money left to feed ourselves. The numbers don’t compute. Sure, this is temporary for our family, assuming he gets a job soon. Not everyone is quite so lucky. Can you imagine having to take ten or more medicines each day? (and keeping them all straight? I struggle with remembering if I’ve taken my blood pressure pill!) Even better, can you imagine paying for them all?

When I saw that a friend of Amanda’s had set up a Gofundme for her, I felt like I had to do something. Admittedly, right now I am not in a situation where I can help financially, but I can certainly get the word out. If you’re able, I know she could really use the hand up.

No, this really isn’t Duran Duran news. I hope that those reading can see their way clear to helping if they’re able.  A member of our Duranie family is sick, needs help, and I’m putting it out there. I wish I could do more.

If you didn’t see the link above and want to find out more or even help, click below:

GO FUND AMANDA PANTS!

Good luck and get well soon, Amanda!

-R

You can fight it, or invite it

OK, so I obviously didn’t make the trip to Dubai for yesterday’s show. I know a few people who did, and I saw plenty of others who commented to Duran Duran on social media. The comments were by far positive. For the few songs I did see (thanks to the magic and power of the internet!) – I would wholeheartedly agree.

One surprise in particular was The Chauffeur. First of all, I applaud that it was put in the set.  The Chauffeur is one of those songs that gets circulated in and out of their set every so often. I’ve seen it live several times, but it isn’t in every set list.  Seeing it on occasion is  special. That said, last night’s rendition seemed different. I’m not sure if it was truly that way or because of how it was recorded. The end was the most noticeably different, but I could hear the guitar loud and clear, and it even sounded a bit different from I remember.  Granted, I like the hard edge of a guitar, and last night – the sound really delivered! I don’t know what it was, but I loved the juxtaposition of the guitar against the synthesizers at the end of the song. In the past I can’t say I picked up on it quite as much.  Anyway, I loved it. He didn’t overpower the song or anything, it was just that I could hear the guitar slice right through the music, and I felt it was just what the song needed. Others might disagree, to be expected.

In addition to some great footage from the show, I’ve seen quite a few snippets of video from some sort of an after party. The only band member I’ve seen has been Simon in short snippets. This brings me to reason #567,983 why I am thankful I’m not famous.

First of all, I don’t know why the person taking the videos feels the need to do so. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my Kodak moment with Simon too, and of course I posted it. I just don’t know why you’d take video and pictures of Simon doing whatever it is he’s doing during his own downtime and then broadcast them to all of humanity. To me, it’s a fine line that I don’t want to cross, and yet I know other people have no problem. I just don’t get it.

He’s with a group of women in a couple of the short videos, he’s playing bartender in a couple of others, and while all of them seem  innocuous, I don’t think that’s the point. I mean, it isn’t that I’m not amused. Part of my hobby here is teasing the hell out of the guy and that’s not going to stop. (He gives it right back at times, and I’d expect no less) That said, it will be a very cold day in hell before I start taking video of him and post it online. (outside of when he’s onstage, of course…in which case, game on!)

I know what many will say. “He should be used to it” , “I’m sure he doesn’t mind”, “it’s funny”.  “You’re the one with the problem.” Yep.  All of those things, I’m sure. I’ve had numerous conversations with various people about this over the years, and if we’re going to treat him like you would anybody else, why on earth are we still jumping over cocktail tables to get to him? It’s one thing to ask them for a picture. Lots of fans do that, and by all means – it’s part of the deal of being a fan, right? No one, least of all me, is saying that’s wrong. Don’t send me hate mail – take all the photos you want and post them.

But here’s another scenario:

Let’s say you’re at a show, and some friends invite you to a bar afterward, mentioning that the band “might” show. For most of us, we’d probably go along willingly. We’d have that nervous feeling of excitement welling in our bellies, only to tell ourselves that they probably won’t show. We get to the bar, grab a seat and settle in. Before long, a friend nudges you under the table and you look up to see Simon walk in. You grin, because well – of course you do! I haven’t met a fan that wouldn’t, even if we’re trying to cover it with a mock sense of coolness.

It takes a while, but Simon has this way of working the room when he wants. He eventually makes his way to your table. Inside, you’re screaming because again – of course you are!  He strikes up a good conversation. The next thing you know, he’s sitting down with your group and you’re having fun. Are you really going to film the entire thing? Are you really going to take out your phone, pretend you’re taking video of something else, and get him instead?

I guess if you’re nodding your head yes, I’m responding that I wouldn’t. I definitely haven’t. That moment, or evening, or whatever, is yours. It was mine. I don’t need the video to remember it all.  I also wouldn’t want to ruin the moment by reminding him that I’m one of those teenagers that had his posters on my wall. Not that I think he’d forget, but wouldn’t it nice to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the elephant in the room?? Yep, inside, I’d be freaking out for a bit, and sure – afterward I might have a good case of the squeals (who wouldn’t?), but that’s for later!

Perhaps I just don’t get it. That’s very possible. Maybe it’s just ME, and I don’t realize that since he’s been a rock star for seemingly forever, he doesn’t mind being treated like a circus animal even when he’s trying to wind down for the evening. I kinda think he does mind – but that’s just my opinion, take it for what it may be worth.

I wouldn’t want to be treated that way, so I’m not going to do that to him, or anyone else. Based on my limited experience, I suspect Simon prefers having a drink, making a toast to a good night or whatever, and not having people stick their camera phones up to video every last second to post online later. He might act like he doesn’t care, but I’ll bet it’s annoying. Maybe as you’re reading you believe I’m wrong about that, and hey – that’s fine. You all can do what you want to do. But, if you’ve ever wondered why there’s no video of us with Simon, or anyone in the band for that matter – what I’ve written is exactly why.

-R

I don’t own Duran Duran. Do you?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve seen some weird reactions since Monday, the day that most of us discovered that Simon was going to become a grandpa in June.

I’ve seen everything from joyful congratulations to downright lamenting age, and trust me – I’m right there with all of you. I’m sure to some degree, Simon might be too. After all, it is HIS daughter having the baby! My goodness, as thrilled as I might be to become a grandma (NOT ANY TIME SOON!), I think I’d still take a hard look at myself in the mirror. I think that’s probably normal for anyone.

While I think we might all be incredulous over how quickly time has passed, I’ve also noticed something different that I can’t quite put my finger on. In addition to the posts, tweets and comments of congratulations and joy, there’s been this weird sense of almost a sort of….ownership…familiarity? I’m not even sure those are the right words, but it is something I’ve noticed before.

Most fans have been so since their very early teens. Sure, there are some that have joined the family more recently, and I’m not discounting them – but a lot of us have been around for decades. I have to wonder if that hasn’t given us a false sense of familiarity.

I mean, it isn’t as though we know Saffron personally (for the most part). It is wonderful to send congratulations, but can you imagine what it must be like to be a member of that family and have people you have never even met telling you that if they had their preference, the baby would be a healthy girl? Or boy? It must be overwhelming, whether or not you and I think that Saffron, as Simon’s daughter, must be used to it by now.  I guess part of me wonders why should she HAVE to be?

By the same token, we fans are pretty damn overwhelming to the band, too. Can you imagine having some self-proclaimed blogger write about you every day? Complaining about how long you’re taking to write and record an album, then…just as the album is released, she criticizes it? Who in the hell does she think she is? Good question.

Yes, I think about these things a little differently now than I did a few years ago.

I can’t really find fault with people wanting to express their good wishes. Hell, I did the same thing. I posted a note and even wrote a blog. But after I published, as I washed my face and climbed into bed after a long day, I started thinking about how overwhelming it must be at times.

A few weeks back I was chatting back and forth with a friend of mine who also happens to play bass in a Duran Duran tribute band. We were talking about my absence at a lot of their gigs these days. I explained that I got tired of getting that feeling of entitlement from some of the other fans at their shows, and the attitude of “ownership” that went with it.  Here’s a band, a TRIBUTE band at that – and they still have fans who believe that because they’ve gone to every gig or most gigs, that they have somehow proven that they’re more worthy than others. My feeling is that I just want to listen to their music. I don’t need the rest of the crap that I feel at shows from the REAL band. Forget that nonsense.

The knowing looks, the narrowing eyes when one describes meeting the band or being in a situation that someone else hasn’t, the one-upping through Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and all of that. Gah! I just want to go to the show, enjoy the music, and not worry about the rest. I don’t want to have to “prove” why I am  worthy to be there, or why I am deserving of whatever experience I’m enjoying at the time. It drives me crazy. Sometimes, this community seems to be more about proving yourself than it is about just enjoying the band.

I admit it, sometimes, it is difficult to remember that my only “duty” as a fan is to enjoy the music. I am still learning how to approach it all.  As a blogger, it is easy to fall into the trap of critiquing more than enjoying. I know this because I’ve been in that pit before.  I much prefer writing in a way that celebrates (In some way) everything they’ve done rather than finding fault. It’s a slippery slope because, let’s face it, that isn’t the way I’ve always written. I’m not going to apologize or make excuses except to say the blog has been a journey. I’m learning, like it or not.

It is easy to feel like I am a big part of the history of this band because I’ve been walking with them since 1980-something. I feel like I know them, even though I really don’t. Many of us feel that way. I’m sure they are used to people like me, stepping on their every word. Even so,  I’m calling myself out here as much as anyone else. I don’t own Duran Duran. I might be a hard-core fan in desperate need of a new hobby, but that doesn’t mean they know me, or should abide by anything I write.

Hard truths for a Thursday.

-R

 

The Web of Youth, Duran Duran and Justin Timberlake

Youth seems to be the theme of the day for me, as far as writing goes.

Like many, I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. It is the one (American) football game I tend to watch each year. I don’t have the patience to sit and watch a lot of sports, and I certainly don’t design my weekends around who is playing. In that sense, I’m not a fan. Even so, I feel compelled to watch the final championship game each year, whether we go to a party or not. Yesterday, we stayed at home. I’ve been dealing with a sinus infection, or at least a recurring one, for nearly all of winter, so I was happy to have downtime.

I won’t lie, one of the biggest reasons I watch the game each year is the halftime show. Typically, I’m not even a fan of whomever they have playing, but I always watch out of sheer curiosity. Most of the time, the NFL hires someone who has incredibly wide appeal, whether that is Prince, Lady Gaga, Madonna, or even Paul McCartney. They typically do a medley of their hits because, with just about ten minutes (give or take), there’s not much else that makes sense. Invariably, people complain. That doesn’t really change from year to year, no matter what.

This year, it was Justin Timberlake taking center field, and not even he could escape the virtual “spin cycle” of justice found on social media. There was drama surrounding the proposed use of Prince’s hologram—regardless of where you sit on the debate—was shot down prior to show time. Instead, there was a giant, larger than life projection of Prince onto a piece of fabric as a tribute, and the lights outside of the stadium appeared to turn purple and morph into the design of Prince’s one time logo/name. I say “appeared” because there is apparently much debate over whether or not it really happened or was just the magic of TV.  I don’t honestly care.

While watching his performance though, one thing became crystal clear: Justin, now a father, is no longer a kid himself…and he seeks the same youthful image as every other band and artist out there. While a reasonably large portion of his fan base is in my age range, the “fans” he had surrounding the stage were as youthful as they get. 20-somethings, full of energy, happiness, and style, similar to the odd camouflage-design stage costume Justin wore, likely in a nod to his upcoming album*, “Man of the Woods”.  Even with all of that, youth matters to this industry.

My point isn’t to critique his use of a planted audience (they ALL do it), or to talk about his backing track. I don’t care about any of that because these days – it is more commonplace than not, particularly on live TV. I’m far more critical, if that is really indeed the right word for it, of the industry standards themselves.

At 37, Justin is far from the fresh-faced, curly-haired kid in N*Sync.  His solo career has done what many might have believed impossible, spanning generations of listeners. Even so, Justin finds himself in the undeniably difficult space of trying to connect with a younger audience in order to create buzz for his upcoming album.

As my husband and I watched last night, Justin ran up into the stadium itself to dance and revel with fans during the few final moments of his halftime performance. Mixed in with the sea of white males was one 13-year old kid named Ryan, who is young enough for braces to be on his teeth. Justin posed for a selfie with him, and social media did its work. Today, and even last night, memes of this kid looking at his phone and appearing “unimpressed” by Justin are all across social media, proclaiming that yeah, even Justin Timberlake has gotten to the point where today’s youth don’t know who he is.

Here’s the thing: Ryan knew who Justin Timberlake was. He was probably as shell-shocked as I might have been to be picked out of a crowd. He probably doesn’t know much about N*Sync or even a lot of Justin’s songs, but that doesn’t really matter.

You know what matters? The same thing that my husband and I commented on last night. Out of all of the fans in that crowd, Justin ran up to a kid. Sure, he did it because: A. Kids are cute and B. That kid was the only one around. But he also did it because like it or not, Justin Timberlake is a shrewd businessman. If you’re gonna stop and take a photo with someone, may as well be the kid who is most likely to buy your music. That’s not a slam against Justin. It’s reality. The industry says that it is kids like Ryan who buy the music, who decide which albums make it big, and which will ultimately be albums that only the hardest-core fan base will remember and embrace. Ryan took a selfie with Justin Timberlake, and that selfie went viral. With one well-timed photo opp,  Justin is now likable, accessible, and interesting to a brand new generation of listeners and music-buyers. Bingo.

Is it really just the youth that matter? I’m not sure. Here I sit as a 47-year old that still buys as many concert tickets as she can get away with to see the same band that she’s loved since she was a pre-teen. I’m not the only crazy person out there with multiple copies of Paper Gods, All You Need is Now or even Red Carpet Massacre and Astronaut.  I hardly think I’m the gold standard “fan” that the industry wants to think about. In turn, I’m also not the fan that the band wants to brag about – at least not business-wise. It’s frustrating on one hand as a long time fan and now blogger, and yet completely understandable on the other. But anyone who thinks it is only Duran Duran having to adjust their appeal to a younger audience need look no further than Justin Timberlake.

I suspect that at the very heart of it all, once we are past the dollars and cents, the spreadsheets and profit/loss statements, the constant pressure to appeal to younger and younger audiences must be maddening.

 

-R

*As it turns out, his album was released February 2nd. I’m a few days (and several dollars) short. Sorry about that. 😀

What Happens Tomorrow on GMA, 2005

Did you know that on this day in 2005, Duran Duran performed “What Happens Tomorrow” on Good Morning America?

I’m sure many of you were there. I was not…but I remember racing home from dropping the kids at school in order to see the band perform!

I always say it, but I just can’t get over this being thirteen years ago. Are we sure?!? The band looks good, don’t they? I must admit, I liked them in suits onstage. They looked sharp…and I was a big fan of John’s dark hair, too. Then there’s Andy. I’d nearly forgotten that he was with them at this time. There’s this odd sense of wistfulness when I watch them perform, probably because I know what comes later, and I see people in the audience that are no longer around.

If you watch the whole performance, you’ll see at one point that Simon makes his way over to Andy to sing with him in the same way he does with John. Andy doesn’t even turn towards him, and Simon is kind of left hanging. I don’t think I ever noticed it until I watched today.  I don’t know if that was by accident, on purpose, or an indication of the turmoil within.

Then there is the audience. I see several people I recognize – and it’s not hard to remember that during this time, Duranies were still basking in the afterglow of the original line up being together and touring. I love seeing the joy on the faces of fans during this period of time. For those who, like me, never thought the “Fab Five” would reunite – the period of 2001 through 2005 went by like a flash. A perfect moment designed to give us what we’d wanted, what many of us never had the chance to experience before, but not meant to last.  I’m glad I savored each moment I had.

We’ve come a long way since 2005, and yet sometimes, it feels like it was just yesterday. Life is crazy that way.

-R

Shake up the pitcher*, the lizard mixture: Planning for Durandemonium 2018

*Yes, I spelled the word incorrectly. ON PURPOSE. See what I did there?

It has been a couple of weeks since I gave any sort of an update on convention planning.

First of all, we are still moving forward with plans! If you haven’t already marked August 9-12 as Durandemonium 2018 on your calendar, you should! We have been emailing with our contact at the Hard Rock Cafe (shout out to Jason!), thus begins the number crunching portion of convention planning….stay tuned!

What I am looking for currently, however, are any ideas that past DD convention goers, planners, etc, might like to see and do in August.

Yes, we all know we’d like the band there. Maybe they should just do a Vegas show over the weekend of Durandemonium 2018. Problem solved! 😀

Note to all Duranies and anyone else out there: pretty sure there’s not a Vegas show anywhere on their 2018 calendar…but I just figured I’d throw it out there to anyone who may be reading. Can’t get anything if you don’t ASK. For that matter, I’d take any one or more of them, including the touring band – Dom, Anna, Erin, Simon W. or even their road team or someone who has worked with the band – to appear for an hour, take some questions, and do photos/sign stuff. (If I’m gonna ask, I’m going to go BIG.)

Oh and yes, we’re willing to pay. We’re not kidding. Email us. dailyduranie@gmail.com 

In all seriousness, what activities sound like fun for Durandemonium 2018? We’ve brainstormed about a vendor area for sales/trading, games and trivia, a video party similar to what we do online each year for DD Appreciation Day, perhaps even a guest panel. Is there anyone you’d like to see/hear from? Do you have a burning desire to plan a specific activity? Talk to us!  A Vegas show you’re dying to see? A specific video/interview/etc you want to see? Let us know!  As exclusive as this invite-only event will be, we want it to be fun.

I’m also thinking about theme. We have a general idea that may or may not involve costumes. Who says DD fans can’t/don’t do cosplay?!? If you have any light bulb moments you want to share, we are open to ideas!

I don’t have specific information regarding ticket costs yet. Amanda and I just got some information from Hard Rock Cafe that we need to go through, and some figuring to do. We want to treat our guests to a weekend they’ll be still be talking about through the next tour, but that information is coming soon.

 

Amanda and I chose not to assemble a volunteer committee as early on this time because much of the decision-making comes down to the two of us. However, there will come a time when we are reaching out to those who are willing to be an integral part of the weekend.  That said, we are very open to hearing ideas, so fill our inbox!

Hoping to be posting concrete information very soon….

-R