Tag Archives: Greek Theater at Berkeley

CA Paper Gods Tour by the Numbers!

Traditions.  It is a word that often makes people think of awkward or silly family habits surrounding holidays.  For some, the word might equal boring, stuck-in-the-mud, unafraid of change.  The word doesn’t always have fun connotations.  Yet, for us, traditions do because they are all about touring traditions!!  What are some of those tour traditions?  We bet you can guess some without even thinking too hard…Yes, one of them is about drinking all of the vodka in the city.  Another is reaching up for the sunrise!  Many of our traditions have been around for 10 years, since the spring 2005 Astronaut trip.  Others have been created VERY recently.  You all will get the good fortune of seeing one of the traditions here.  Although, we must warn you.  It will probably amuse no one but us.  Well, it might amuse our friend, Heather, who was stuck with us for this tour.  What is this probably-totally-lame tradition?  Summarizing the tour through numbers.  What are we hearing?!  groaning  Why add math to fandom?!  I thought this was supposed to be fun!  Oh…just wait…Duranies!  You are in for the really-not-that-exciting CA Paper Gods Tour by the numbers that we promise has NO math to it!

1200 miles

Beginning about 20 minutes south of Disneyland in California where Rhonda lives, up to Hollywood, on to Berkeley CA, back to Rancho Mirage and ending at LAX airport.  Good times!!

Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!! Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!!     Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

50 People at the Hard Rock Cafe

We were really excited to have so many people join us at the Hard Rock for an official Daily Duranie Pre-Show Meet-up!

The staff at the Hard Rock Cafe had to keep adding tables to our already ridiculously long table!
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Even though it took quite a while for our food and drink orders to come through, Duranies had a great time chatting, talking and laughing!
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Fans brought memorabilia to look at, and stories to share which made the afternoon go by very quickly!

We were hunted down 50 times!!

We heard everyone’s favorite song, Hungry Like the Wolf, about 50 times between all the shows, every single time we turned the iPod on, and the two times Rhonda had to watch them perform it at Kimmel (Even weirder: we’re starting to look forward to hearing it!!)

This band drives us to drink!!  (18 times!)

Ok, so this number really isn’t so bad considering we were gone for 5 days. Of course, much of that time was spent driving up and down the center of California….but let’s just not talk about that.

Berry Press - Hard Rock

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We lived in 4 hotels (…and on the aforementioned cocktails…)

It’s always fun to pick hotels…and then find out that the hotel you thought was fine was actually a motel in disguise with a big bug in the bathroom…but you know, always an adventure!!

Kettleman City Best Western 1

Best Western Kettleman City 2

We spent an average of 4 hours a day commuting on the “bus”.

Oh my gosh!  Someone forgot to reserve our seats on Duran Duran One…can you believe it?!? The audacity!!!  So, we took Rhonda’s car instead. (thank goodness it proved as reliable as always!)

CA Driving 1

CA Driving3

3.5 hours of sleep!

Sleep?!? We can sleep when we’re dead!!  We treated ourselves to about 3.5 hours of sleep each night. Or morning if we’re being honest….

3 Meet-ups

In addition to the meet-up at Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, we had two smaller meet-ups: one at Gypsy’s in Berkeley for dinner, and another at Rendezvous at the Agua Caliente Hotel.

Berkeley Group Selfie
Berkeley Group Selfie
Rendezvous at Agua Caliente
Rendezvous at Agua Caliente

We “fixed” Duran Duran’s set list 3 times

And they ignored us…three times…and we can’t even imagine WHY!!

Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl
Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl
Suggested set list for Berkeley
Suggested set list for Berkeley
The special set list for Agua Caliente and, yes, Skin Drivers seemed more fitting that day!
The special set list for Agua Caliente and, yes, Skin Drivers seemed more fitting that day!

3 Shows!

That’s right, kids.  We did three shows on this tour:

Hollywood Bowl–

Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

Greek Theater in Berkeley–

JoNiDo at Berkeley

Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage–

Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

2 fantastic performances by Nile and Chic!!

Nile HBowl
You can see Craig Robinson from TV’s The Office in the background on this one taken at the Hollywood Bowl.
Nile Berkeley
Chic at The Greek Theatre – Berkeley CA
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Chic – Greek Theatre – Berkeley CA

We danced 2 times to Danceophobia!

We were obviously cured!!

2 Post Show Gatherings!

You didn’t think that we would be satisfied with just a drink or two before the shows, did you?!    No, we needed to celebrate fabulous shows with friends!

Berkeley
Berkeley

Berkeley

Agua Caliente
Agua Caliente

1.5 Meals Per Day!

Here’s the thing about touring and us.  We often forget to eat or don’t eat complete meals.  Are we too busy going from place-to-place?  Do we have too much nervous energy?  Do we drink our dinners?  Whatever the cause–it still equaled an average of 1.5 meals per day on this tour, which isn’t really that bad!!!

1 Familiar Looking Security Guard

Hmmm...
Hmmm….

Are we the only ones who think that this guy looks familiar?!?

One “Play the Fucking Bass, John!”

Clearly, we were not the only ones who found ourselves missing John’s little intro as people chanted, “Play the Fucking Bass, John!” in Agua Caliente both in the beginning of the show and at the intros. Sometimes, change is embraced and welcomed and other times, people long for those traditions!!!  Just sayin’!!

The Star!

When on tour, it is essential to do anything and everything Duran related.  Since we were in Hollywood…a trip to the star was a must (especially for our dear friend, Heather, who hasn’t had the chance before!).  This picture, of course, proves us to be the dorks that we really are!

At the star

1 Amazing, Awesome, Durantastic Trip!!!

While this wasn’t our first Duran tour and hopefully, not the last one,  it was one of the best!!!  We have had some amazing tours over the years and this one ranks right up there!  If we had ANY doubt that we still love this band, love our friends, and love touring, this trip pushed all of that right out the car window!  Oh, yes, our love was renewed and then some!  So, anybody know when we can go again!?!  We have had almost a week to recover so we are ready!!!

-A & R

Duran Duran Review: Hollywood Bowl vs. Greek Theater

I never had a chance to finish yesterday’s review of the Hollywood Bowl.  We had to get on the road and didn’t have a chance to log in.  Therefore, today’s blog/concert review will be a little different.  It will be more like a comparison of the two shows.  While I may not hit every song, I’ll definitely highlight a few.

Venue:

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned how massive the Hollywood Bowl is with a capacity of 17,000.  The Greek Theater in Berkeley is half that size.  This, of course, made it much easier to get around from a concert goer’s point of view.  While both venues have large hills, the Bowl has more of a slow incline whereas the Greek has a more intense one.  I don’t know if that is good or bad as far as viewing goes, though.  I do, though, that the Greek has a very tall stage, which I have seen many argue makes for better viewing further back and less than optimal viewing up front.  I don’t think that is the case.  We were up front and saw everything just fine, including Roger and Nick.

Setlist:

Overall, the setlists were basically the same with the exception of White Lines at the Bowl and Save a Prayer at the Greek.  While I would say that I was far more accepting of the setlist last night, I still couldn’t help to want some changes.  The beginning tracks are Paper Gods, Hungry Like the Wolf, A View to a Kill, The Reflex and Come Undone.  New tracks always interest me so I’m good with Paper Gods.  The rest, though?  Not so much.  In fact, based on those tracks, I am most excited about Hungry, which seems wrong.  Likewise, while there has been improvement on Come Undone (NO finger licking, thank the Duranie Gods!), it is still one that needs to go from my point of view.  Another thing that relates to the setlist is the fact that both venues had curfews.  This means that Duran had to rush to finish their set, resulting in less songs and less of a concert.  I’m hoping that this isn’t the case for tonight’s show.  Now, on to specifics!

Paper Gods:

For the Bowl, smoke machines were in full force to introduce this while the Greek lacked the smoke.  I’ll admit that the smoke was a neat feature but both shows had enough sound and lights flashing to give the audience that intense, “Oh my God, the show is about to start” feeling.  Mr Hudson appeared with the band at the Bowl for this one and I have to admit that I appreciated that he held back and didn’t try to take the place of any of the regular players on stage.  Anyway, the stage set-up includes a very large, rectangular screen that showed images and whatnot.  For this song, lyrics flashed on the screen in between images of nature, trees, etc.  I admit that I’m a bit puzzled by the nature focus for this song as it seems to be more about commercialism and materialism–the exact opposite of nature.  Although, perhaps, that’s the point.  No matter the reason, I struggled on what to focus on.  Do I watch the screen or the band?  I was so overwhelmed at the Bowl for this track that I have honestly no idea what I really thought of it.  At the Greek, I knew more of what to expect.  I think they do a nice job with this track and seeing it live makes me appreciate it more.

HLTW, AVTAK, The Reflex and Come Undone:

There isn’t a ton that I want to comment on with these tracks other than to say that the more DoJo (Dom and John) the better.  Last night, the DoJo increased dramatically over the previous night.  Likewise, there was more interaction across the board last night.  The band interacted more (Yes, the more JoSi the better!!!)  and there was more interaction with the crowd.  I saw a lot more looks between band members and between band members and individuals in the crowd.  On top of that, they did a MUCH better job last night of trying to get the crowd involved from clapping during Pressure Off to singing during Notorious and Save a Prayer.  John Taylor really stepped up his game at the Greek, as far as this goes.  It definitely increased the energy going into the crowd, which in turn increased their energy.  The only other thing that I wanted to comment on in regards to these tracks is that Simon had some entertaining dance moves during Come Undone that actually made me chuckle.  I always appreciate that.

LNITC and WATC:

Last Night in the City is an interesting track live, simply because John Taylor is behind a keyboard and Dom Brown is back with the backing singers.  While that makes me uncomfortable, I do like the song and do feel like the song captures the feeling of touring quite well.  What Are the Chances, on the other hand, is a completely different story.  At the Bowl, Simon along with Jessie and Anna left the stage to go sing in the crowd leaving me and countless others to wonder who to watch?  The singers or the band?  I hated that.  I don’t want it to be the Simon show.  I want it to be the band’s show.  The whole band.  Therefore, I appreciated it SO much more last night at the Greek when Simon and company remained on stage.  It felt more cohesive and I think the band needs to be all be together to feed off of each other.  Last night, for example, John told Dom, “That’s good,” as Dom played the guitar for that song beautifully.  Speaking of beauty, that song features a gorgeous video featuring sunrise and beach and sky.  It fits SO well with the message of the song about not  taking it all for granted.

Notorious, Pressure Off, Planet Earth:

Truly, this section of the show was the real highlight both nights.  Interestingly enough, I had a feeling that it was Simon’s too as he messed up the setlist last night, trying to get to Notorious earlier than he should.  The best part was when John yelled, “No!” loudly across the stage.  Clearly, John has the setlist memorized.  Anyway, what makes this part of the show special was that Nile comes back on stage to perform Notorious and Pressure Off.  His appearance definitely breathed new life into Notorious and created an enthusiasm that I know I had been lacking in regards to the song.  The best part of Nile’s appearance is the level of interaction happening on that stage.  It isn’t just Duran AND Nile.  It is Duran WITH Nile.  Nile jams with Dom.  Nile jams with John.  Nile jams with John and Dom.  Everyone seems to be an equal part to it.  I loved each and every second of it.  I loved the hug that Simon gave Nile last night and I loved seeing Nile and Dom exchange a fist bump.  It was like acceptance of Dom as Duran’s guitarist.  This energy and chemistry continues through Pressure Off.  The best part of Pressure Off is that confetti is released towards the end.  At the Bowl, one side of the confetti didn’t work well.  The Greek made up for this and then this.  The confetti went off right by us and sent off a billion pieces of paper into the air.  The band was covered.  The audience was covered.  In fact, the confetti lasted well into the beginning of Planet Earth, combining with the purple-ish space image on the screen.  It was amazing to witness for sure and created a magical feel.  Then, of course, Planet Earth is my favorite and will always remain my favorite as it has it all–John solo, DoJo and JoSi.  On top of it, it has audience participation with the clapping during John’s solo and yelling “switch it off”.  Again, though, I have to comment that it was SO much better at the Greek last night.  At the Bowl, John and Simon were separated a lot and had less chances to sing together.  Also, John was great last night, when he said, “What do you say?” (or something like that) before the “switch it off” moment.  Then, after the crowd yelled it, he responded with, “That’s right!”  You trained us well, John.

Ordinary World, Sunrise:

Just a couple of comments on these.  Last night, Sunrise featured DoJo for the first time that I can remember.  My response, “Yes, please.”  There was also a lot more JoSi last night.  Then, I really appreciated Simon’s introduction of Ordinary World last night.  He mentioned about how they have to let the songs speak for themselves and that our love for the songs enhances their love for the songs and it becomes a cycle of love or something like that.  Rhonda and I have mentioned this very thing many times.  The happier fans are, the more love they send to the band, which sends more love to fans and back.

Danceophobia, TMI, GOF:

Sigh.  I’m trying.  We are trying with Danceophobia.  During the show at the Bowl, both Rhonda and myself just sort of stood there in a bit of shock.  We weren’t sure what was going on really.  Last night, we tried to get into more.  What helped me was seeing how into Danceophobia John is.  He seemed to have a whole dance routine going on, which was both dorky and cute, at the same time.  Likewise, Too Much Information was such that we were in a bit of a state of shock at the Bowl as the song’s was made into a much faster, more disco-y than what we are used to.  We did much better and really appreciated it more after getting used to it, last night.  The same thing goes with Girls on Film, which starts out differently than it used to.  Both nights lacked intros beyond just instrument and name, which saddens me as I always enjoy them.  That said, I LOVED that Simon mentioned that John plays the fucking bass last night.  It wasn’t the chant, but it was something.

WL/SAP and Rio:

The Bowl show had White Lines and they gave a real solid performance of it.  That said, Simon did decide to spray the center with his lovely water/spit routine at the end of the song.  I can’t say that I appreciated that as we bent over to avoid it as much as we could.  Alas.  Last night, we had Save a Prayer and while I do really like the song and am glad it is in the set, I wonder about it as an encore number.  I generally prefer more upbeat songs at the end.  Rio, as usual, did its thing to pump the crowd up and make us all wish for more.  The one bummer is that we knew at both nights that they had to hurry to get done before curfew.

Overall:

While both shows were good, the show last night at the Greek was SO much better!  The energy was higher.  John, in particular, danced around a ton!  The increased interaction also made a big difference and I look forward to more of that tonight!  I truly do believe that they were more relaxed and themselves more last night.  The pressure was off, so to speak.

-A