Tag Archives: Duranies

Rio: The Duran Duran drought is over?

I’ve almost certainly lost my DD mojo at this point.

These are words I actually texted to a friend of mine on Saturday afternoon as we discussed going to see the greatest Duran Duran tribute band on this side of the Atlantic – Rio. They were playing at the Totally 80’s Bar in Fullerton California, which wasn’t far from my house.  I needed a night out, as did my husband. There has been a serious Duran Duran drought going on, and judging from responses I’ve seen over the past several months to whatever the band says, or even what happen to say on Twitter, it sounds like this is a full-fledged emergency.

Before I get into whom to blame for this tragedy (I think we all know exactly who is to blame here), let’s just talk about that evening. The truth of the matter, it’s been so long that I’ve been out, I feared I’d forgotten how to dress. I spend my luxurious, fun-filled days in jeans, a t-shirt and athletic trainers, running after a now five-month old puppy before he decides to use our house as his personal toilet among many other equally amazing “hobbies” I’ve acquired in the past four years. Dare I say I’ve become frumpy?!? I certainly feel that way every morning when I crawl out of bed, grabbing the first clothing items I can throw on, not even bothering with makeup or hair product. Instead of just being a Duranie-on-a (short) hiatus, I felt like I was becoming my mother, feeling every single second of my forty-four years on this planet. For a while, I even started to give in, waving my dishtowel as a white flag in defeat, sensing that it might be a while, perhaps even forever, before I went to another concert and screamed for the men onstage.

Yes, I had lost my DD mojo. Most definitely.  There is an intense Duran Duran drought going on here.

So that brings me to Saturday night. Immediately upon texting that I’d go to see Rio, I realized I had no idea of what to wear. Did I even still fit into my typical concert clothing? It had been months since I actually did a full make-up job or worried about my hair – could I still pull it off? Probably not. I pulled on my jeans, noting that I could still breathe (definitely an unexpected bonus), and then tried on a shirt. I shrugged it on, and then went to the mirror to see how bad it looked. I took a peek, and to my surprise – I started to recognize the reflection in the mirror. Yes, the girl was still in there, but what about the band…the real band? I hear we’ve got at least another six months of this Duran Duran drought ahead. Seriously, they expect us to hang on this long with virtually nothing?? No one needs remind me that they’ve done a few shows over the past year – but unless you were lucky to be able to attend one – which I was not, the rest of us are still living a California-sized Duran Duran drought.

We get to the club that night and sit down to grab a little pre-show dinner. If you haven’t been, the menu is filled with delights like the Breakfast Club burger (which has everything including an egg and hash browns on it) to Tater-Tots with toppings like poutine or nacho cheese sauce. They also have drinks that run the gamot of 80’s names. Yes, they even have a Duran Duran shot bomb. From memory it is black cherry vodka with some grenadine dropped into Red Bull.  I am certain this could kill me, so I go for the Richard Blade Rum Runner instead (still Duran themed, damn it!). I don’t even remember what is in this drink, but it was good. I want to say there was something raspberry in there with rum and maybe even some pineapple. Not sure. I just know I drank it and lived, even if my memory did not.

My friends arrive, we chat for a while at our table and then make our way to the front of the club to see the show. I’ve been to see Rio before – in fact I’ve done an interview with them here on the blog as well as reviewed a show, so being near the front wasn’t a requirement, but we made our way as close as possible – which ended up being directly to the side of some speakers. Yay for more early onset hearing loss! The show starts and the band is terrific as always. Honestly, as Tiger Tiger began, I could feel the Duran Duran drought ending for me in very much the same way I felt when California finally got some rain in December. Nourishment!! Relief!! I felt at home because let’s face it – Rio’s set list is vaguely familiar, with tunes like Planet Earth, Hungry Like the Wolf (oh you betcha!), Come Undone, Ordinary World…but they also played Is There Something I Should Know, New Moon on Monday (which sounded just a little off to me, but in fairness I was only getting part of the sound through the one set of speakers deafening me), and New Religion. A full-set of Duran Duran drought ending greatness. I can’t  complain about their show (and I wouldn’t anyway because as I’ve already said – this is the greatest DD Tribute band on this side of the pond, hands-down). For this Duranie, their set gave me a hint of DD mojo back.

However, just as I was starting to remember why it is I love the band, and yes, lately it has been difficult to remember why…I started remembering what I’d forgotten about concerts in general.

People are freaking NUTS.

We’d made our way up to nearly the front of the stage before the show started, not by pretending we knew someone or faking a leg injury, by just walking up to the front. After all, this wasn’t the band. I mean, it was Rio…but it wasn’t Duran Duran. Apparently though, management forgot to mention that small detail to many of the women (and a whole lot of the men!) in attendance. I witnessed behavior that night that I haven’t seen (well some of it I’ve never seen, but I’ll get to that in a bit) in a looonnnnngg time. From the woman who refused to give up on getting to the front no matter how many times the gentleman who stopped her from barging up there continued to put her off, to the presumable grandmother that elbowed me several times, leaving me with a nasty bruise on the backside of my arm to shove me out-of-the-way so that she could lock eyes with “Simon” Jake Jacobs, and the very, very drunk woman who used the stage as a way to prop her arms so that she could twerk for her man (I really wish I were joking about that one)…I was shocked. Pushing and shoving to get up front to see a tribute band? Climbing on to the stage to dance with the band members? Staking out front row spots to have a chance for Jake to grab your hand and sing to you?  Where in the hell was I???  I continued to utter the same words throughout the show: “You know this isn’t like, THE BAND…right?!?”  I can only imagine that the Duran Duran drought has caused this kind of madness.

Don’t get me wrong. Rio is fabulous. They are an outstanding band, and they have a great time doing what they do. They’re true musicians and I dare say rock stars in their own right. But they’re not Duran Duran. Unless of course you haven’t seen Duran Duran in what, three or four years. Then suddenly, this tribute band takes on a whole new meaning – they’re helping end the Duran Duran drought!! They’re the band that is standing incredibly well for the other band that can’t seem to be bothered at the moment. From what I saw that night, the crowd is more than happy to take what they’re eager to give. And then some.

The show had everything from a guy jumping up on stage to take a photo with the band – which was harmless enough, to a woman who helped herself to a free frontal feel on “Simon”. (Don’t even ask…although I wonder if the real Simon has been molested the way Jake was that night. I’m going to guess in the affirmative, even though Jake himself told me that in the twenty-something years he’s spent performing, it’s never happened before that night. Nice.) By all intents and purposes, this very-packed crowd genuinely believed it was the real deal on the stage that night, obviously to the credit of Rio. The tribute band really is that charismatic, and while I stood by mostly mortified on Saturday night, Rio tells me that I shouldn’t go around reminding people they’re not really Duran Duran. They love being the enablers for the fantasy, and the last thing they really need is someone like me screaming “Get off my lawn!” Fair enough.

However, facts are facts, and it has been just about three-and-a-half years since the band toured. It has been just over four years since All You Need is Now has been released. As of spring this year, this will be the very longest it’s EVER GONE between album releases – you want to talk about a Duran Duran drought?? Here we are, people! This is insane. Fans are restless. They need shows. They want new music. The tribute band Rio helps to pass the time, and I’m grateful that they play, but they aren’t Duran Duran in the same way that Simon, John, Nick, Roger AND Dom are Duran Duran (and also to their credit, Rio knows this). We’re not a bunch of teenagers anymore that can still be counted on to be there in five or ten years. Fans probably won’t still be there if the band continues to wait to tour or put out a single or do much of anything. At our age – time is a commodity we’re losing, like it or not. I very much respect John, Simon, Roger and Nick – but I very much disagree with the attitude they continue to expel at every opportunity that they don’t need to hurry or get themselves out there to continue the momentum that they have almost assuredly lost after all of this time. To that I must emphatically respond, “You don’t get it at all. You really and truly just do not get it, boys.”

I question what is really going on “behind the curtain” at times such as these. It is difficult to be a Duranie in this Duran Duran drought at the moment. On one hand, of course I want to be supportive. At the end of it all, I’m still a fan. Disgruntled? Perhaps. Bored? Certainly. But I still care. I want to say, “Take the time you need. We’ll wait!” On the other hand, I’m wondering if they really want to get out there at all. It’s been a long-ass time since All You Need is Now. You can’t even argue that it hasn’t. Why did they need so many big names on one album? Why haven’t they put out a single at this point if for no other reason than to put voices like mine with questions like the ones I’ve brought up here to rest? Why don’t they seem to care at all? Have they lost their minds???  Or, is their collective heart not really in the game anymore, and they don’t know how to SAY they’re done?  I think most fans, including myself, feel like this album might be the last for a least a very long while – and every single time I hear Nick say “Well, we’ll certainly play some shows”… my heart hears, “Well, we might play SOME shows…but probably not nearly as many as we did before” and it sinks. Each time John does a Katy Kafe and sounds like he’d much rather be plucking his nose-hairs, I feel it sink even farther. How does a fan stay optimistic during this Duran Duran drought?!?

Mostly, I’ve lost my DD mojo, and this Duran Duran drought feels never-ending. We all tell ourselves that we don’t mind waiting and that it’ll be worth it in the end because otherwise, we wouldn’t be fans. I’ve been doing that as much as anyone. It is the name of the fandom game – we’ll wait because the other choice is to walk away and not care. I also know that for as many people who will tell me they’ll wait forever for Simon and Co…there are still others who are nodding their heads as they read this, proud of my “bravery” in publicly saying what we’re all thinking. This blog isn’t managed or supported by the band. I am not required to adhere to party line talking points provided by a PR company. I write whatever I’m thinking or feeling on any given day and it’s 100% truthful, even if the concerns are unfounded when all said and done – and with that comes great freedom, if not also a little sadness.

The Duran Duran drought continues…

-R

More Top Duranie Fandom Moments

Having recently read Amanda’s and Rhonda’s top 10 Duranie fandom moments, I wanted to share my own top fandom moments. So here are my top five Duranie fandom experiences, in no particular order:

My first Duran Duran concert

October 17, 2011 at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia

Fandom Memories - PamG

Having been a fan for almost 30 years it was a surreal experience. I still have trouble putting those feelings into words. My seat was on John’s side of the stage and I was just mesmerized from start to finish. I remember being in a trance almost the entire time and just staring at John. I mean, staring. I felt like I was a young teenager again, plopped in front of MTV and was engrossed in their videos. The show was better than I could have imagined. I remember telling myself that I should look at Simon and the other people on stage and take in the experience, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of John. And at the same time, I was also trying to capture as many moments as I could with my camera. Of course in hindsight, I wish I had put my camera down and absorbed as much as I could that night. Little did I know that it would not be my only time seeing the band that year. In an uncharacteristically impulsive move, I saw them again eleven days later in Boston.

Seeing the band arrive at the Tower Theater

I went to that Philly concert by myself, so I got there a bit early and killed some time in the pub across from the venue. I met some other fans and we had all decided to skip most of the opening act (Neon Trees) and head to the theater between acts. As we were leaving the pub and walking across the street to the theater, a white van drove past us and went down the alley to the backstage entrance. Very quickly, whispers turned to excited-yet-still-low-key squeals saying that it was the band. My initial thought was No Way! They must already be there at the venue. Well it turned out I was wrong. We tried to be cool and saunter over to the alley to catch a glimpse, and our suspicions were confirmed. They waved hello in response to some brave fans who called out their names. I was in Duranie fandom heaven, and I hadn’t even entered the theater yet.

Turning lemons into lemonade in Atlantic City

I planned my summer vacation around this show (August 25, 2012). My friend Stephanie and I wanted to attend a show on that summer tour together, but she ended up going to see them at Foxwoods the night before and I chose AC because I could visit some nearby family. That choice was a critical one for me because she got to see the band and I did not. As we now know, they ended up cancelling this show in Atlantic City as well as the remainder of that U.S. tour. I found out the news like many would-be attendees did: at a bar in the casino, within an hour of the start time. It was another surreal Duranie fandom experience, but in a sad way.

One amazing opportunity did rise from these ashes though. After commiserating with other Duranies and trying to make the most of the situation, we heard rumblings that some of the band was in one of the other bars at the casino. Sure enough, I ended up meeting Dom Brown, Anna Ross, and Simon Willescroft (saxophone). I had a lovely chat with Dom about his solo work. So for not being able to see the band live, the night gave me my only chance (so far) to meet members of the band.

JT’s book signing in Toronto

2012 was turning into a tough Duran-year for me. I also missed John’s book signing in Toronto. Regrettably this one was my choice though. It was the day that Superstorm Sandy was due to hit land, and although I was nowhere near the direct path of the storm, it did cause some pretty severe weather in western NY. After a lot of debate and even a little heartache, I decided not to make the drive to Toronto out of safety concerns. I think I avoided Facebook and other social media for a week because I didn’t want to see what I had missed out on.

But somehow the Duran karma was looking out for me again. Not too long after missing the chance to meet JT, I won a signed copy of his book from DDHQ. Of course it wasn’t the same experience I had hoped for, but I do treasure it nonetheless.

The controversial Duran Duran & Steve Aoki show

June 20, 2012 at Terminal 5, New York City

Oh I know the controversy this show caused. I read the fan forums and the criticisms both before and after the show. You can look them up yourselves.  I am grateful for the experience no matter what. Perhaps another time I’ll write about my entire experience, but in a nutshell, it was a one-of-a-kind Duranie fandom experience that I don’t regret one bit.

I truly ventured out of my comfort zone for this one. I went to New York City for the first time. I was a guest of a Duranie who was looking for a +1 for her ticket. I had faith in a fellow Duranie, but it was still a risk to put my faith in this stranger in NYC. It all worked out just fine, and we met up outside of Terminal 5 in time for the show. We ended up being among the first group of fans they let in, so we got pretty close to the stage. And as Steve Aoki says in the video that captured the essence of the evening, I had no idea what was about to unfold. Yes, I got cake on me, was sprayed with champagne, and many sweaty, annoying 20-somethings bumped into me with little regard for my safety. But I also got to meet some awesome Duranies, witness a new arrangement of HLTW, sing Happy Birthday to John, and even watch the band watch Aoki from backstage. And even though it was a short set, it was a unique Duranie fandom event that I’m glad I took a risk on.

Do you have a list of your Duranie fandom moments? Share some in the comments below!

-PamG

Duran Duran History – Arena

The Arena album makes Duran Duran history today by climbing all the way to #4 on US charts on this day in 1984. 1984 wasn’t a bad time to be a Duranie: from MTV to radio, magazines to board games, it seemed like the band was everywhere, and in many ways fans were spoiled into believing it would always be that way. There was little (if any) down time for the band during this period and it seemed that nothing but good times lay ahead. Little did fans realize that with the end of 1984 also came the veritable end of the band’s initial heyday…at least as far as chart success, and the general public was able to gauge.

-R

 

Rhonda’s Duranie Fandom Moments

Amanda had asked me to come up with my top ten Duranie Fandom moments several weeks back, after having sat down and doing so herself, complete with photos to illustrate. At the time, I had trouble coming up with even ONE. Stress does that to a person, and honestly  there are times when it feels like so long ago that I even attended a show…well, it’s just very far removed from daily life here at Casa Rivera these days. Yet I blog about Duran Duran each morning….how does that happen?!?

Truthfully, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s all I can do to jot down a few words about the date in history (which we’re now just calling “Duran Duran History”). Sometimes I’m just not feeling very fan-like at all. Maybe I’m really stuck in “mom-mode” or “wife-mode”…but definitely not “fandom” mode. It’s been a rough few months, to put it lightly.

As I said yesterday though, having a single weekend away helped. I was able to stop worrying about things I cannot control (we all have our weaknesses.), and just smile, enjoy the music, laugh…and remember why it is that I’m still writing about my Duranie fandom! So, I’ve decided that since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I can take some time to describe my own top ten fandom moments.

Rhonda’s Top Ten Duranie Fandom Moments (not in any sort of order)

Finally meeting the band

After 20 years, or whatever it was at the time – I finally got the chance to go to a record signing. It was for Astronaut, and the signing was at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. I still remember standing in that line near the door to the store doing some major self-talk. “You will NOT sound like an idiot”….”You absolutely will NOT tell any of them that you’ve loved them since you were ten.” ….”Do NOT pass out.”  I pasted a smile (hopefully not maniacal) on my face and went in there with my head held high. I did great until I got to Roger, and only then did I gush with “Thank you so much for coming back to the band, Roger. You’ve always been my favorite.”  Seriously??  Oh well…I tried!!

Third Row – All State Arena, Chicago 2005

Astronaut Bus All State Arena 2005

There are probably many who will follow that up with “Oh, I had front row at____________”.  Yeah well, good on you. I’ve never won a meet and greet, either. Third row was the best it got for me on that tour, and let me tell you – I’d take those seats again and again and again in a heartbeat. I had never been closer, and up until that point I’d never attended a Duran Duran show with other Duranies. Talk about Duranie fandom. Oh yes. I will never forget Roger Taylor (did I mention that he was my favorite??) coming to the front of the stage during the heartbeat at the beginning of the show. I stood there shaking so badly that I continued to fumble with my camera the entire time he was in front of me. Oh well, at least I didn’t blind him before the show with my flash photography, right??

Front Row – DPAC, Durham 2012

Front Row without me in Durham

Yes, I finally got front row. Twice this tour…once in Biloxi because I was crazy enough to get myself to the venue by 7am and wait all day, and once in Durham because a good friend (thanks Jonee!!) saw something that she wanted to facilitate. (mainly that I had adoration for some guitar player who will remain nameless…) I squeezed up into that line of girls in the picture…and  I’ll just say this: BEST SHOW EVER.

Almost getting that drumstick at Voodoo 2006

oops...wrong sign. Well, we held this one up too!
oops…wrong sign. Well, we held this one up too!

No, I don’t have a drumstick in my “collection” (what collection?!?).  I do however, have a memory of Roger Taylor reading a sign I held up high for him at the Voodoo festival in New Orleans, cheekily asking if I could twirl his stick. (Wow Rhonda. Just wow.) I’m glad Roger is a good sport, because he just grinned and asked if I wanted it. (To clarify, by “it”…I think we all know he meant his drumstick, thank you.) I nodded yes. It sailed through the air, coming straight for me.  It was a perfect throw, until someone reached up and grabbed it right out of the air. Oh well. I looked back up at the stage, Roger winced, mouthed “I’m sorry” and I was in heaven. He spoke to me. Sort of.  No, I don’t have the drumstick, but the memory is vivid.

Getting a guitar pick from Dom

I’m not a very pushy fan, I don’t think. I’ve never ASKED the band for things. (Unless you count those front row tickets I’ve asked for here on the blog. In jest. Seriously in jest!!) I mean, sure – I asked for that drumstick I guess, but that’s different! In Biloxi though, I found my voice. I had been wanting Dom’s guitar pick since he joined the band, but I could never get close enough, and I never ran into him at a point where I thought he’d have one. At the end of the show in Biloxi, Dom came close enough to where I was standing that I could ask him. My voice worked. I asked, he flicked one to me. (in my head at the time he flicked it I was like “Are you kidding me? You’re flicking the damn thing? Do you not read the blog? Do you not know that I can’t catch??!! AAAH!) By some sheer miracle, I caught it. I put it in my pocket. Then his guitar tech came out and literally threw the other six of them from his mic stand right at me. Seriously. Two of them hit me square in the head. Thanks for making sure I got one!!

Interviewing Dom for Daily Duranie

A dream come true…and if I could do it again, I would do it completely differently. (I’d try for a face-to-face or Skype!!) Most know that I worked up a Q&A for Dom to answer, but I don’t think anyone but Amanda knows I emailed Dom to ask him if he would be willing to do the interview. I came home from the tail end of the All You Need is Now tour in 2012 and wanted to ask Dom if he’d be willing to let me interview him. I figured there was no way this would ever fly, a long shot at best. I emailed him. I figured he wouldn’t have the foggiest idea who I was – he meets thousands of people every night, and I’m just some face in the crowd. Well, he told me he knew exactly who I was. Then he agreed to a Q&A and the rest is history. I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I’m not dead. 😀

Conventions

durandemonium t-shirt design

Some might say that convention planning has become sort of a hobby. Others might say I’m crazy. Both are probably at least partially true. I can really say though that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has ever energized my Duranie fandom the way that planning and attending conventions has done. I love that feeling of freedom and togetherness that being at fan conventions gives. It’s like experiencing one shining, perfect moment with a lot of other like-minded people. Maybe it’s like a really long show without the band actually being there. I don’t know. I just know that in times when life isn’t working out as planned – I think of those weekends and they still make me smile.

A certain plane trip in 2006

Here’s a fantasy for you: you’re getting on a plane to go to a concert and you look up to see touring members from that band headed down the aisle towards you. Then they sit across from you. Go ahead, think about that for a minute or five. This happened. For real….and no, I didn’t get photos. I didn’t even THINK about photos, because I was too busy thinking “OH MY GOD”.  Duranie Fandom? Oh you bet. Did I speak? Yes, and I’ll never forget that two or three-hour plane trip. Good times.

Finishing the manuscript, writing this blog

Our manuscript
Side view of The Monster…our manuscript. It’s kind of big.

I know our book isn’t yet published. We’re working on it. The fact is, we finished the draft. That’s more than I could have hoped for even if it never sees the light of day beyond that. Who knew an entire book could be written on Duranie fandom?? I wasn’t sure…then I did it. If that weren’t enough, we write a blog every single day. I’ve learned how to create a website, MOVE a website (albeit not well, but you know….it’s a learning curve really), and do things I never, ever wanted to learn how to do. All for the love of a stupid band. Well, not stupid….but you get it. NOW FINISH THE ALBUM, DURAN DURAN!!

I’m almost afraid to give the last one, because the truth of the matter is – I’m not done. I’m not done living or going to shows or being a FAN for that matter. Seems silly to come up with a top 10 list of Duranie fandom moments when there hasn’t been an ending yet. That said, there is one moment that in my head, almost always rises to the top whenever I think of moments. It’s the saddest moment I’ve ever had as a fan.  On the same token, it’s the most meaningful.  

Standing in front of Simon as he told all those at the studio in May of 2011 that the UK shows would be canceled

Ice Cream makes it all better
We did what any heartbroken American would do. We had ice cream.

This memory is especially poignant, and even just the slightest bit painful. That day, Amanda and I had gone to the studio (here’s the funny part -I’m not even sure “which” studio we were at because someone else had taken us there. Had it not been for this person, Amanda and I would have never even seen the band on our first trip to the UK in May of that year, and if we were to go back to the UK, I don’t think I could find my way back there. That should provide some comfort for all involved!) We all said hi to Simon when he got to the studio that day, knowing that two of our shows had already been canceled and that this rehearsal would decide the fate for the rest. He didn’t sound bad, but he took the time to explain to us what was going on. He seemed particularly concerned for those of us who had traveled a long way to be there – and it was the first time I’d ever really felt connected in any way to him. I mean, I love Simon as does any fan – but this was different. I can’t put it into words. I just know that I’ve never felt fandom, my Duranie fandom, like I did that day.

Today I’m just thankful and counting my blessings. I’m so glad I convinced Amanda to start this blog, even though there are times – recent times – when I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because something isn’t working right on the blog, or because maybe in the past someone has written a horrible comment to us that I can’t seem to let roll off my back, or because I offended someone I hadn’t meant to offend. The overall experience has been beyond words. I’ve learned far more than I ever expected, both about myself and about the band, believe it or not. I’m lucky to say that I’m 50% owner of this operation, and that we’re headed into the next album with nothing but excitement and hopefulness for more incredible Duranie Fandom moments ahead. Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers, and Happy Thursday to the rest of the world.  Thanks for reading!!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Fandom is Always Better with Friends

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to take a trip to Wisconsin with my daughter Heather, who is in the middle of auditioning for BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) programs for college. The trip was taking us to both the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin Madison, and if you’ve been paying attention to the blog over the past four years – you know that Amanda, my blogging partner-in-crime, lives in Madison. (How convenient!!!) So while Heather auditioned, Amanda and I basically sat in a corner of the parent “waiting room” and laughed. (we’re awfully supportive that way)  At night, Heather would crash after dancing all day. Amanda and I?  We watched Duran Duran videos at what I like to call  “Daily Duranie Headquarters”.  We laughed, reminisced, and wished-aloud for more shows in the coming year.

I was only with Amanda for just shy of 48 hours, but even spending that little time together renewed my spirit. The past few months have been particularly stressful due to a job layoff for my husband (redundancy, for those who are not from the US and don’t quite get the vernacular), and there has been very little in the way of real “fun”.  Make no mistake,  in addition to the layoff, being the parent of a graduating high school senior isn’t easy. Those college applications don’t just fill themselves out, and oddly enough – most kids aren’t excited by the idea of writing essay after essay or scrambling to get test scores and transcripts to the various schools – all on top of the normal schoolwork. In my daughter’s case, all of that is accompanied by yet another application process to audition for dance programs, which come with teacher recommendations, dance resumés, videos, photos, head shots, etc. All of this can be filed under “Things-I-really-wished-I’d-known-and-thought-through-before-encouraging-Heather-to-start-dancing”.  As much as I’d like to pretend that I’m a wall-of-steel: nothing bothers me, nothing gets through my thick skin; the fact is – I’ve had a very tough time blogging lately. Working on the “back-end” of the site, the nuts and bolts, so to speak – has been much easier than coming to terms with the emotional side of being a fan. It’s easier to just talk about the date in history or learn how to move a website from WordPress.com to WordPress.org than talk about why I love the band or why I couldn’t go to Austin.  I may act like I don’t care, but the truth is that of course I do. I hate missing out, and I especially hate that it bothers me that I’m missing out!

Nevertheless, we arrived in Wisconsin on Thursday night, game-faces on, ready to go. I have to admit, up until I left, I let myself pretend that the only reason we were going was for Heather’s college future. I am not frivolous enough to dare plan a “fun” trip while my husband is unemployed, so this trip was going to be all-business. The plan was to go to Heather’s audition on Friday morning and then meet up with Amanda on Friday night and drive to Madison for another audition in the morning.

When we walked in the door of Amanda’s home on Friday night, I felt like I was finally able to take a full-breath again. Seeing her office, filled with mementos of trips we’ve taken together to see the band and tons of other memorabilia, gave me reason to smile. It’s really tough not to grin when I think of the fun we’ve had together over the years. I don’t know how it is that I’d virtually forgotten so much of it in the three months or so it has been since I stayed at her house last. Life just takes over, I suppose.

We did our fair share of Duran Duran viewing on Saturday night. We did a lot of laughing. Instead of feeling heavy with worry and dread that I desperately try to keep hidden here on the blog and even in my real life at home, I finally relaxed. I remembered why I’m anxious for the band to get back on the road. I’m a Duranie! I thought about the people I’ve met along the way and how each of those relationships – whether we’re talking friendships, admirations, or flat-out fandom, has affected me as a person and brought me to where I am (which is currently making lists of things I have to fix on this darn blog this week).

For me personally, this trip was very much needed, and in a lot of ways I feel guilty because while Heather was dancing and my husband was at home continuing to go through the ordeal of finding a new place of employment, I was able to forget it all for a day or so. A few weeks ago, Amanda asked me about coming up with my own list of top Duranie “fan” moments. At the time, I couldn’t even come up with a single defining second – much less a whole moment! (Yes, that really is a great example of how worried and stressed I’ve been) I’ve got a few things down on the list now, and I’m sure more will come to mind in the next several days.  I am still very much a Duranie. I just needed a lighthearted weekend with a dear friend to remind me.

If nothing else, THAT is why this blog exists, and THAT is why we continue.

-R

 

 

Happy Birthday Simon!

One of the most delightful things about social networking (Twitter, Facebook, Google+…etc.) is seeing all of the birthday shout-outs, photos and messages. Today, my Facebook news feed and Twitter timelines are filled to the gills with shout-outs and photos from Duranies around the world, for Simon, who celebrates his 56th birthday today!

Amanda and I have done our share of good-natured teasing at Simon’s expense over the years, but yes – it’s good natured and we tease purely because we love. However, we also know the world would not be the same without him. After all, this IS Daily Duranie, which would not be in existence had he never graced this planet.

Each time I see the band live, or even on TV, there is something very comforting about seeing Simon take the stage with the band. It just feels right.  Maybe it’s really just the familiarity with having him as the front man for so many years, maybe it’s that he feels like extended family at this point (that has absolutely no idea who the rest of us are), or maybe it’s just that for me, Duran Duran wouldn’t be Duran Duran without him. I’m not sure. I just know that I can’t help but smile when he is standing there, center stage, ready to go……(as long as he’s not coming towards us with a mouth full of water and they’re playing White Lines).

So, we raise our martinis (it’s REALLY early for this my time, and as dedicated as I might be to the cause…eek!) in a celebratory toast to Simon.  We hope this next year brings plenty of health, happiness, love, music….and some damn shows!!!!

(I couldn’t resist.  Sorry.)

Happy Birthday Simon!!

-R

 

Kingdom by Charli XCX (feat. Simon LeBon) out November 17!

The big news for this week: those anxious to hear Simon LeBon again (and I’m assuming that counts all Duranies) will get their chance again soon. Simon is featured on a song by Charli XCX that will be on the upcoming soundtrack for the movie, Mockingjay Part One. (Part of the Hunger Games series).

Lorde curated the soundtrack for the movie, putting together a compilation of songs with her own special stamp. She directly communicated with the artists chosen, such as Grace Jones, Miguel, The Chemical Brothers, and of course our own frontman.  Another name from the track list jumps out at me, as Bat For Lashes was at one time under the Manimal label (see the interview with the man behind Manimal Vinyl, Paul Beahan!).  It would appear that Simon is among good company, and provides an excellent chance to expose new audience to not only Simon, but also Duran Duran.

Track listing:

1) Stromae: “Meltdown” [ft. Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip, Haim]
2) Chvrches: “Dead Air”
3) Tove Lo: “Scream My Name”
4) Charli XCX: “Kingdom” [ft. Simon Le Bon]
5) Various Artists: “Track 5”
6) Raury: “Lost Souls”
7) Lorde: “Yellow Flicker Beat”
8) Tinashé: “The Leap”
9) Bat for Lashes: “Plan the Escape”
10) Grace Jones: “Original Beast”
11) Lorde: “Flicker” (Kanye West Rework)
12) XOV: “Animal”
13) The Chemical Brothers: “This Is Not a Game” [ft. Miguel]
14) Lorde: “Ladder Song”

I cannot tell a lie, I can hardly wait until November 17 so that we can hear the song and review it for the blog.  New music…two beautiful words to type this week.

-R

 

 

 

 

I Shed My Skin

 

DDMonium_Group
NEW “old” friends

 

By PamG

It’s been a year since Durandemonium. Obviously Rhonda & Amanda have shared their journeys and feelings about it with us, and I wanted to share what that weekend meant to me as one of the attendees. As they have have both said, their primary goal was to bring people together. And boy they sure did.

I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. I had only been to three Duran shows, and they were all just within the two prior years. My primary fandom had been in the early 1980s as a young teenager, but my fandom had reignited with the All You Need Is Now album. From what I read on this website and social media, so many other people had been to a lot of shows, through different albums and tours. How could I fit in? I was afraid that I’d be the freshman at Duranie High School and all the senior Duranies wouldn’t talk to me. Would everyone else be like those truly diehard fans I’d seen in “Something You Should Know?”

Fortunately I had some encouragement from two friends. My first connection was Lori. We had chatted online through the DDM forums and met up at the ill-fated Atlantic City show in August 2012. Yes, that pun was intended because the show was cancelled just before showtime because of Nick’s illness. Even though she’s West Coast and I’m East Coast, we’ve remained friends since that night (sound familiar R & A??). A few months later she told me she was on the convention planning committee, so I felt relieved that at least I’d know someone else there. If I decided to go, that is.

What sealed the deal for me was my friend Stephanie. We’ve been friends for a few years now, but we didn’t know we shared the Duran fandom until after we were already friends for a while. Until then I didn’t have anyone whom I could talk Duran stuff with, at least not in the present tense. Of course I had friends who liked them back in the ‘80s too, but when I mentioned Duran’s great new album, they either rolled their eyes or redirected the conversation back to our poster-boy crushes. Stephanie and I were curious about the convention, and we both read Daily Duranie pretty regularly. After some deliberation and clearing some vacation time, we finally made the commitment to go.

After a little pre-gaming at a nearby bar that afternoon, we arrived at registration. I guess I hadn’t pre-gamed enough because I was still nervous about meeting these people we’d committed to spending the weekend with. But in retrospect, this convention’s reception was like most others I’ve been to: some people walk in the door with someone they already know, some people squeal with delight when they see someone for the first time in years, and others simply take a seat and quietly begin to get comfortable with the people around them. Some of the games felt a little awkward at first, but after a while I relaxed because we were all in it together and that felt pretty awesome. I could finally let my Duran-freak flag fly. It was fun to find out how far people had traveled to be there. And I felt relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who had seen fewer than 5 shows. They still let me hang out with them!

Next up Stephanie and I decided to meet up with bunch of others at Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar. I’m still torn as to what the best part was: either the gang getting up on stage to sing along to Rio and HLTW, or the double-D ink stamp we received at the door! I actually have a double-D tattoo on my wrist, so getting the stamp at the door blew my mind. I tried to explain to the stamp-giver how cool it was that he was stamping a “DD” on my wrist and I already had a “DD” on my wrist! He didn’t get it.

Pams tattoo and stamp
How did the stamp guy not see how cool this is?

 

I really enjoyed Saturday morning’s author panel with Rhonda, Amanda,  Elisa Lorello, and Karen Booth. Seeing four women who had combined writing with their passions for the band, the music, and the fandom was truly inspiring to me. I thought combining your job with something that you love was something only a few people in the world are able to do, but now I know that it is possible. Thank you all for sharing those insights and experiences with me.

My highlight of the weekend was definitely the private viewing of A Diamond In The Mind. To the convention committee and everyone else who was involved in presenting that: I can’t thank you enough. I’d never been to a private screening of anything before, so that was pretty cool. But watching the live concert film on the big screen was like being at a show again: we danced and sang along and had a ball! I think the only thing that could have possibly been better would have been a private concert by the band. That’s how awesome the experience was for me. In hindsight, this experience was probably the moment when I knew that I belonged. Knowing that everyone in that audience is there for the same reason I was, and had the same excitement that I did was affirming. I didn’t feel weird, or immature, or like someone who was stuck in the past. I felt like I had found my people.

The rest of the evening confirmed those feelings. At the banquet people dressed up in a variety of ways to represent their favorite song. I generally don’t enjoy wearing costumes or dressing for themes, but I put on my leopard blouse and went with it. By this point in the weekend I shouldn’t have been surprised that another person (or three) had the same idea as me. I was among a like-minded group of friends. Later I boarded the party bus bound for la-la-la Late Bar. The folks there gave us such a warm welcome and even had a specialty Sing Blue Silver cocktail ready for us! I’m not sure if the bar always plays new wave music on Saturdays but I loved it. They had their blocks of Duran videos and music ready for us, and showed us much love while we were there. Like any offbeat club, there were some offbeat characters there too. I can only surmise that they were part of the local Chicago culture and I’ll leave it at that. (Those who were there know what I am talking about.) In all I think it was a fun way to top off the night.

Sunday morning arrived and I was surprised that I was sad to say goodbye to new friends. The weekend had gone by too fast. I’m happy to say that I’m still in contact with several friends I met that weekend (thank you Facebook) and can’t wait to do it again! If anyone else feels that way, I recommend you lend your support by visiting the Cafe Press store. (This message was not approved by the Daily Duranie campaign; it is truly from my heart!)

Before Durandemonium, I was still a bit shy about my fandom for the band. When people asked why I was going to Chicago for the weekend, I avoided the truth and simply said I was going to catch up with some old friends. Turns out that was exactly what happened, only I hadn’t met those old friends yet.

 

 

PamG

PamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.

 

 

 

Duran Duran at Dell World 2014

Austin is getting the Duran Duran love lately, aren’t they?  Just to note – if I hear of even ONE Duranie from Texas complain about the band not playing near them, I will cheerfully remind you of the time they’re spending in your glorious state this Autumn.

This love has now spread to Dell World, which is November 4-6. If you are keeping track, this means that they’ll be in Austin on November 1st for the ACL/Formula-One gig, and then they’re playing Dell World on November 4th for their opening event where they will headline along with Weezer. Neither event is for the faint of pocketbook – if you’re planning on going to Dell World and don’t have an “in”, you’re gonna pay $895 for the entire convention…but if you register now, you can bring a “colleague” for free.  (I believe in our case, fellow Duranies are absolutely colleagues!)

Daily Duranie will not be in attendance for any of these shows this November. Personally I can’t justify the cost, nor the time spent in travel. I know Amanda feels similar. We both feel it’s a ridiculous sum of money to spend to see the band at this particular point in our lives. Nothing personal, but we’d rather wait for a real tour and do a road trip with all the trimmings and experience new music if at all possible. I know other Duranies are happily throwing their money at Dell and counting their blessings at being able to go to both the F-1 event AND Dell World in a single week. I applaud their efforts, but my cash is staying in my bank account.

Granted, the rest of the world has taken notice of these upcoming shows, and I’d have to be blind not to see the rather pointed comments coming from all directions other than Texas. Fair enough. It is true, the band apparently likes Austin.  I wish I knew what to say to make the sting lessen, but all I’m coming up with for now is that they say there will be a tour…..at some point.

-R

 

It Begins and ends with you

As I was doing my very quick perusal of Twitter this morning, I came across an interesting group of comments directed at DDHQ…or at least the Duran Duran twitter handle.  The person was clearly disappointed that he/she was never acknowledged, and attributed this to the fact that they are a younger fan. Their feeling was that the older fans are acknowledged all of the time for showing off their collections and so forth, and that younger fans are ignored.

To begin with, I don’t know this person, and I really am not sure what “young” means. Even so, I was curious by their statements. I’m not entirely sure that the band, or their management or DDHQ, really takes the time to notice whether a tweeter is young, old, or something in-between when they’re acknowledging people. I think it happens far more fluidly than all of that, and I’m not entirely sure that fans understand just how many comments the band has in their twitter feed at any given time, and that’s during the times when they themselves haven’t tweeted!  Let them ask a question or call out an upcoming “Tweetstake” and their feed goes wild. So while I can understand wanting to be acknowledged, I think we have to be fair. There is just no way the band can respond to everyone. They would have to have one person dedicated 24/7, and even then, I highly doubt they could keep up.

Acknowledgement is important.  Social media, and specifically Twitter, is one way we can have an ongoing “conversation” with the band. Relationship building is very important, and is done completely differently now than it was even a decade ago. It’s taken us several years to even get to THIS point, where we’re all kind of beginning to understand how Twitter (and other social media) can be used most effectively.

Much to my dismay and that of many others…it is NOT used so that the celebrities of choice are on there to chat with fans all day every day.  I know, I know…it’s a shock….but we will overcome! (in case you didn’t read the sarcasm, read again. It’s there, I promise!)

It’s difficult to be a fan sometimes. Even I have found myself wondering what the point really is when weeks if not months goes by without a single interaction – and I’m not really talking about being singled out or acknowledged as much as I am saying that for me personally, it’s not as much about DDHQ remembering to say “Happy Birthday” as it is seeing members of the band active on social media from time to time. Then a day will come and without warning, John will post a photo, Dom might tweet something…maybe even Roger will post a picture on Facebook and dare to ask for it to be captioned.  I’ll see these things, smile, maybe even respond…and all is well.

What is it about THOSE moments that are so special and turn me right back into a giggly teenager?!?  I can’t help but laugh over the silliest of things, whether it is providing a snarky caption to the picture Roger Taylor posted on Facebook and believing he’ll actually take the time to look at the comments (it is not my fault that he left the door WIDE open to my constant teasing after practically promising to have the album completely finished by his year end Katy Kafe…), or noticing that Dom wore a particular t-shirt in a photo. It’s those tiny little things that make me (and hopefully others, otherwise I am way more into this “fan” thing than I thought…) believe that yeah, maybe they care just a little. Is it crazy? Probably so, but it’s fun. I’m sure you readers know that it’s fun as well. Otherwise, let’s be honest, we wouldn’t keep bothering. We’d listen to the music once in a while, maybe catch a show when it was convenient…or find reasons why we couldn’t..and say that we once loved Duran Duran.  Past-tense.

I’ve spent time observing fan behavior. I know that sounds bizarre, but when writing a manuscript about fans…you tend to observe. For some fans, that teensy bit of acknowledgment really matters. Some go out of their way to get it, by tweeting and retweeting the same article or photo over and over again.  When they are finally granted that RT from a band member or DDHQ, they wield it like a trophy, and I have no doubt that to those people – it really DOES matter that much. This isn’t about making fun, it’s about observing behavior. That’s why social media works, and that’s why bands like Duran Duran spend so much time doing it. For other fans, they like seeing the tweets from the band members, and if they are lucky enough to get a tweet back – they’re thrilled. To them, this little bit of interaction feels genuine, not forced, and as natural as chatting with a celebrity is going to get. Still others recognize Twitter and Facebook as just another advertisement for the band. They see it as a sales opportunity and don’t expect the band to really chat. They’re surprised by those who want or expect more.  Still others might be there to watch the whole thing unfold, but they’re disgusted by everyone else clamoring for attention. For as many fans as there are, there are at least that many expectations…resentments “in training”.

All of that in mind, I’m still not sure how fans can ever expect the band, or DDHQ, to acknowledge them. There are tens of thousands of fans. On Twitter alone, there are over 134,000 followers. That is a LOT of tweets. As someone who writes a blog dedicated to being fans of Duran Duran, it’s rare when the band responds or notices we’re alive. I’ve had friends ask the band to acknowledge my birthday or even the blog’s birthday and it goes unnoticed. I’ve said many, many times that if we were writing the blog or were fans purely because we wanted to be noticed, we should have never started. Sure, I could take all of that personally…but I didn’t become a Duran Duran fan thinking that someday I would be best pals with the band. I became a fan because I loved their music.  I fell in love with Planet Earth before I ever saw the faces behind the sound.  The rest was just fantasy. Fun, delusional fantasy…but still just fantasy.

-R