Tag Archives: Hollywood Bowl

Duran Does It Better!

Over the years, Rhonda and I have written many, many blogs covering Duran Duran presales, concert tickets and VIP packages.  In some (okay..maybe…many cases), these posts have been critical of some aspect of Duran Duran concert buying details.  Likewise, many fans have also expressed frustration over the process during the last ten years or so.  I remember a LOT of complaining (with good reason) about the use of Ticketmaster, for example.  Ticket prices have also been a big discussion over the years as have VIP packages and what they include.  Many Duranies express frustration that meet and greets are no longer a part of any VIP package.  Others wish that they got more for the money, in terms of either merchandise or parties or whatnot.

Usually, when the topic of fan clubs and presales happen in the world of social media, I hear fans discuss how this band or that band does it better because…These fans offer alternative methods to how Duran sells their concert tickets.  As time has gone by and ticket prices continued to increase, I had to wonder if these fans weren’t right.  Maybe Duran Duran needs to learn from other bands?!  Then, this week forced me to rethink this.

Rhonda blogged earlier this week about Depeche Mode’s method of presales where fans chose their city to buy tickets for and move up in line based on how many albums they purchase, how often they post on social media, etc.  She expressed extremely valid concerns about this system.  I agreed with many of her points but still planned on participating in the presale.  Depeche is one of my favorite bands and I always try to see them when I can.  That said, I don’t travel to see them so the idea of picking one city worked for me.  I did not do much else to improve my spot in line.  I purchased one album and that was it.  My schedule did not allow for more, even if I had wanted to do more.

Soon enough, the presale date rolled around and I found out that I was in the second group.  Okay.  I could live with that.  The presale time came around and I was prepared to buy ticket for a few friends and myself.  I asked for the 4 tickets and I got somewhere around the 20th row.  The ticket price?  With fees, they ran about $175.  Uh.  No thanks.  I do not mind spending money for concert tickets (that’s pretty obvious with Duran, right?).  I do have a problem of spending a lot of money for not great seats.  I thought I could do better.  Later in the day, when I had a bit more time, I decided to search on the map to see what was still available for the fan presale and for how much.

I’m posting the map here to explain what I discovered:

First, let me tell that I have seen Depeche Mode here (Chicago) many times.  Most recently, I had row M in section 104 back in 2013.  Those seats cost $119.  This time, I found that row M in section 103 was a VIP seat.  In fact, row MM in section 204 was also considered VIP.  How much are those VIP tickets and what do fans get for them?

***FRONT ROW PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Front Row reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***HOSPITALITY PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Priority check-in and entrance 
– Pre-show hospitality with specially selected hot/cold appetizers, dessert, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks 
– Hospitality room featuring themed décor, photo backdrop and playing your favorite Depeche Mode music 
– Crowd-free merchandise shopping (where available) 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 
– Onsite check-in staff 

***GOLD HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) Premium reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening 

***SILVER HOT SEAT PACKAGE*** 
– One (1) premium Price Level 2 reserved ticket 
– Merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package purchasers 
– Collectible laminate to remember your evening

Right away, I noticed that none of these VIP packages include meet and greets.  I also realized that most of them do not describe what a premium seat means.  I think back to Duran’s VIP packages during this Paper Gods tour and I know that Ultimate had front row.  Gold packages included seats in rows 2 through 6.  DDHQ made it clear where the seats could be, at least in terms of rows.  Depeche doesn’t give any information.  Now, how much are these?  Some of the seats I found were:  Section 103 Row M for $585, Section 102 Row A for $950, Section 204 Row MM for $300.  Wow.  Yesterday, I saw prices for the Hollywood Bowl.  Prices for the front sections there ranged from $865 to $1495 through Ticketmaster.  These are not prices through a ticket broker.

Now, I’m sure that some of you are saying that Duran tickets are expensive.  Sure, they are.  The tickets for next weekend, for example, cost about $350 for second row center with some merchandise.  The Hollywood Bowl show cost $445 for us in October of 2015.  This price included second row center seats, merchandise and a party.  Depeche is clearly charging twice that for their packages there.

After seeing all of this, I have to admit that I’m glad that *my* favorite band is not Depeche Mode.  I couldn’t afford to go to many shows, especially VIP, that’s for sure.  The presale process would already limit where to get tickets and the price guarantees that it is just one city.  Perhaps, their team assumes that fans are only going to one show so maybe they will go all out for that one concert, in terms of tickets.  I don’t know.

Later this morning, I will attempt again to get tickets through the public sale.  I will not be buying VIP tickets, but I will try to get the best tickets I can for a price I can feel comfortable with.  Thankfully, I don’t feel the need to see Depeche up close.  This little experience taught me that Duran does the whole concert ticket thing pretty well, in comparison.  Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say.  Duran does it better.

-A

Tour Reflections of Agua Caliente

A year ago today I was driving Amanda to the airport to catch her flight back to reality.  We had just spent a week (give or take) together seeing shows at the Hollywood Bowl, The Greek theater at UC Berkeley, and Agua Caliente.

For me, the Agua Caliente show was the show to beat. I’ll never have another experience like that one. It was front-row-elbows-on-a-monitor madness. The show was in a smaller theater than either Berkeley or Hollywood Bowl. It was intimate, the band appeared alone without Chic on the bill, and I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, the shows with Chic have been fantastic, but I enjoyed seeing Duran Duran on their own, too.

Front row in such a small theater give me a completely different perspective than I’d ever had before. I was able to see each band member up close, and really revel in their expressions in a way I hadn’t previously.  I could feel the music and I knew as I walked away from the venue that I would never have a show quite like that again.

The thing is, on some level I can probably say that about every single show I’ve ever seen.  They’re all different.  I’ve had a unique perspective each time – even if I’ve sat in nearly identical seats each night! Truthfully, my head did wander into the “How am I ever going to top this one?” area after Agua Caliente.  I was concerned that—if that show was the top for me—that every other show I’d ever go to would leave me wanting for more.

Funny how things don’t work that way. I’m honest when I say that I didn’t think too much about that when the band took the stage at Ravinia this summer.  I didn’t really think about being front row when Simon sauntered to the front of the stage with a mouth full of water in Paso Robles.  Each show was unique and exciting all on their own. Sure, some are just better than others I suppose, in the same way that some soccer games are more exciting than others, and I do have my favorite moments—but I didn’t need to worry that I’d never have another show that would measure up. They all did!

Looking back now, which I realize is some sort of Cardinal Sin for the band, but for us is part of the luxury we hold as fans, every single show I’ve gone to (yes, even that fateful fan show in NYC) has had memorable moments. I value every single one. I’m not sure if that comes with age, experience, or just the fact that I’m especially thankful for what I’ve done these days, but more and more often I find myself smiling when I think about all I’ve seen and done.

I’ve met some really nice people, including some that I highly doubt I’d have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  There are still dull spots of course—life is not utopia. Yeah, it still bothers me when the sum of my existence is “Duranie” and that somehow that single word puts me (and others like me) in a column characterized by words like “crazy”, “obsessed”, and “groupie”.

I just had someone tell me yesterday that he needed to unfriend me on Facebook simply because I am a Duranie and his girlfriend doesn’t like it. I understood the implication, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t sting. I respect this person, I’m married and I honor the boundaries of my male friends, regardless of who they are. But how can one really argue with a stereotype?  I’m not sure we can if no one wants to listen. At the end of the day, I have to hope that those who value my friendship (as I do theirs) would see the difference.

It is hard to imagine it has already been a year since those shows. In other ways though, at least for me—it feels like a distant, fond memory. This year, I don’t see that the change has been in Daily Duranie, but perhaps in me. I see things a little differently, and I take a little more time to just enjoy the good things without worry of what comes next.  Not a bad way to reflect on some of the best times I’ve had in my life, actually.

-R

 

And So Mark the Year

One year ago today, I was in Hollywood, California.  More specifically than that, I was at the Hollywood Bowl.  Like everyone else there that night, I was there to see Duran Duran perform to a sold out crowd at an iconic venue.  This show marked the first full show that I had seen since 2012.  Three long years had passed.  Finally I was seeing the band on stage doing what they do best, performing both classic songs and tracks off their brand new album, Paper Gods.  This show was the first of three shows for me that weekend, making it a real tour.

One year later, I find myself wishing for a super power.  This power would allow me to travel in time.  I could rewind the tape and do that tour and the entire year all over again.  Maybe, I just want to have a super power that allows me to tour all of the time.  For me, there is nothing better than being on tour and going to Duran Duran shows.  While others imagine a quiet, beautiful beach as their happy place, I think about Duran Duran concerts and tours.  Why is that?  Why is that the place that I’m most happiest at?

I have thought about that question quite a bit lately as I find myself wistfully looking back to my Paper Gods tours.  The first reason is the most obvious.  Duran Duran makes me happy.  Their music has always spoken to me.  Even when I was far away from the fandom, whenever I heard a Duran song, I felt an intense joy as an involuntary smile formed on my face.  The songs bring back happy memories from both my childhood and now my adulthood.  I connect certain songs to memories, to moments, to fun times in my life.  Yes, of course, there are songs that I might not like or love but even those create an emotional response.  As someone who appreciates intensity, I have always loved how much feeling their music creates in me.  Seeing their music live adds to that intensity.

Their live performances make their music better.  Always.  In fact, their live performances are so good that there are many songs that I don’t like to listen to anymore unless they are live.  There is a lot more to their shows besides their music, however.  I love watching their interactions, from the shall we say…hot…JoSi moments to the jamming DoJo ones to even the glances between Nick and the others.  Yet, I also love that they interact with the crowd and get into the music themselves.  If that wasn’t enough, the crowd surrounding me also adds to the experience.  When I am at the show, singing along with thousands of others, I feel a part of something big, important, magical.  The whole venues unites around the music, the performance or so it feels to me.

Beyond the show, touring usually means that I get to spend time with my partner-in-crime in person.  Those times provide us with the  extended time to talk, really talk.  Of course, we discuss all things Duran but also the rest of our lives, including work, family, childhoods and everything else under the sun.  While I have some good friends and great colleagues around the Midwest, I don’t have the same kind of conversations with them.  Part of it is sharing this fandom journey that we are on.  The other part is simply because Rhonda and I connected through these conversations.  They are the lifeblood to our friendship.  Beyond the conversations, we have a TON of fun together.  We laugh so much.  In my real life, I don’t find myself laughing without abandon like I do on tour.  I’m often far too serious.

The last aspect of touring that I am really missing right now is the escape.  While I’m on tour, traveling from show to show, I’m not thinking about paying bills or responsibilities or work.  I can live in the moment and experience joy.  Lately, work has been tough.  It has been tough in a way that I haven’t had to deal with in years.  On top of that, I’m just super busy with little time to give myself breaks.  I’m longing for an extended break of fun like touring.  I wish I was in my happy place.  Since I can’t be, I’ll just think back to the memories created one year ago at the Hollywood Bowl, when I was at my happy “place”.

-A

A few of my best moments of 2015

30th of December, 2015. We’ve got about a day and a half left in this year, give or take depending upon where you are in the world. Speaking for myself, I’m happy to see this one end. I have friends who look at New Years with some sort of wide-eyed optimism for possibilities, and I’m not sure I’m in that camp. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m looking for a do-over, but I do kind of think of January as a sort of reboot. It’s a good time to sort of purge the system, clean the slate, and start over. Before I move forward, I like to close out the year with a good look back.

This is always a sort of strange time of year for me because typically either I’m sick (as I am this year), or my kids are sick…or even the husband (I shudder to think). It all adds up to where I almost never leave the house for that week between Christmas and New Years, and it is typically right about now when I’m starting to get cabin fever….which I am.  The idea of going out shopping sounds great in theory, but then I take a deep breath and realize that I shouldn’t be going anywhere just yet. And I’m exhausted just thinking about it…so instead I’ll try to recap some of my better moments of 2015.  Granted, I have to actually try to remember all of last year. My memory seems to stop right at April 1st.

January 2015 Katy Kafe

The first thing that comes to mind is the January 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor. It isn’t often that I go back an re-read blogs, particular those that were written nearly a year ago…but in searching for something else, I re-read this one. I can remember writing it with absolutely no idea what Paper Gods, or as I fondly call it, #DD14, would have to offer. I wrote about how excited John seemed. How passionate he came across about the new music…and I clearly recall having a sense of real anticipation for the year ahead.  It was a good, breakthrough moment to start the year, without a doubt.

“It’s like riding a bike, Rhonda – you don’t forget!” – Amanda (while we were trying to buy pre-sale tickets to the David Lynch Foundation show)

I remember the day that Duran Duran announced that they would appear and play at the David Lynch Foundation Gala at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. To begin with, I nearly choked on my coffee. I just wasn’t expecting that sort of news on that particular day. Then again, I must admit I’m almost never expecting show announcements and they always surprise me! I can remember sending texts to Amanda, full-well knowing she was in class, but I didn’t care. I even sent it with the “bat-code” for CHECK THIS RIGHT NOW.  I also remember how overjoyed I was at the very idea that they were going to be coming to LA after so long. I always joke that getting show announcements feels similar to having been running through the desert and you finally see a drinking fountain or a swimming pool. Naturally, I blogged about the hilarity of the pre-sales being one hour after the band announced the date, which you can re-read here. (It’s even new if you haven’t read it before!)

Hearing a snippet of Pressure Off for the very first time

In all fairness, I can’t seem to remember when this happened. Was it before or after David Lynch?  I’m thinking before. I know they had announced “Pressure Off” being the single by then, but even as I tried to search our archives, I couldn’t find mention of it. Probably because we were on Spring Break at the time. No matter, I remember listening/watching to a horribly distorted snippet of the song that one of the radio DJ’s who attended some sort of party that Warner put on up in Northern California – this was right after it was announced that DD had signed with Warner for this album. I must have watched that snippet (and searched for other longer versions) 50,000 times. I can remember listening quizzically – as though that single 30 second “snapshot” was going to give me all of the answers I was seeking about #DD14.  The one thing I do remember feeling though, was hope. I liked the tiny bit I’d heard.

I know that not long after that snippet made its way through the internet, Roger commented in a Katy Kafe that he really didn’t like that it had been posted because the production couldn’t really be heard. Gotta tell you, Roger – with all due respect – it didn’t matter.  Here’s the thing: and I’m speaking purely from the point of view as a fan – when fans find things like that online – just tiny little slices of new music and so forth, it’s really not about getting a full taste of the production quality. It’s about just hearing the tune, so to speak. I don’t think anyone truly watched that video with the idea that they’d judge the whole album by what was seen. It was more about satisfying the urge. Imagine being thirsty – I mean REALLY thirsty. You don’t sit down and think about what you want to drink. You just need some water, and you guzzle it. Quickly.  And then you refill the glass.

The David Lynch Foundation Gala

We were expecting one song but ended up with three, and had a fantastic time with friends both old and new.  One of the best nights I’d had in a very long time, and of course we tweeted, blogged, and Instagrammed our way through.  Plenty of people chuckled at the idea that Amanda would travel all the way to California for a single song, and I say to them that they just don’t get it. The band was a great backdrop, and sure – they were definitely a motivating factor, but it still comes down to friendship. Amanda and I hadn’t seen one another since the previous summer, and it was time.  There are also those photos with John, Dom & Simon, too.  Of course then we wondered just how much longer it would be before we’d see them again.

Pre-Sales (for the US shows in the Fall)

Yes, I know…pre-sales are both the joy and stress of being a fan. That said, there was something that felt very good about getting online, blood surging through my clogged arteries as I had Amanda on speaker phone that morning in May, both of us working to get the best tickets possible for the shows coming up in October. It felt good. It felt right…and despite that moment when she couldn’t get the darn website to take her credit card expiration date…we survived….and to think we hadn’t even heard the entire album yet.

Listening to Paper Gods

It felt so good to finally have the album in my hand. I relished in taking the time to really look at the icons and the artwork. I read over the liner notes, and then played the album itself non-stop for weeks (from start to finish each time, thank you!). After three years, many of the songs being released early, it finally felt like we’d made it. I remember the exact moment I finally “got” the album – not just hearing it but actually GETTING it. I called Amanda, triumphantly acknowledging that the album wasn’t just about the BAND….it was about fans as well. The album, as a whole (not counting the bonus songs) very much listens as a musical journey throughout the band’s career. There’s a reason why Simon suggests we listen to the album as a whole, all the way through, at least once.  Pure, unadulterated joy…and profound respect are feelings I can easily assign to Paper Gods.

The US Fall tour

Rather than just pick one show – I’m choosing to just say all of them. After three years, seeing the band was one of the best parts of this entire year.  From standing there in second row center at the Hollywood Bowl to leaning my elbows on the stage at Agua Caliente – I don’t think I will ever be able to top those moments as a music lover. What more could I really ever ask for?  I’m really not sure. I just know that the band exceeded my expectations, and whatever I enjoy from here on out is bonus.

 

There were so many other little moments I could have mentioned, but these were the big Duran Duran moments for me this year.  I also want to make mention that while I didn’t include the moment I read that all of the band members were fine and safe after the Paris terrorist attacks – on a very personal level, I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful. It didn’t seem right to include that in this list, nor did it seem right to include my pride in their decision to donate the their proceeds from EODM’s version of Save a Prayer to charity, but they are not forgotten. I will never forget that so many music lovers, like myself, did not come home from the simple act of going to a concert.

-R

Year End Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor

Yesterday, at work, I logged into DuranDuranMusic to hear the first of the year end Katy Kafes.  This one featured our favorite drummer, Mr. Roger Taylor!  Just like Rhonda when she blogs about a “Kafe”, I was armed with pen and paper in order to take notes.  That said, I’ll be giving my thoughts about some of the highlights, which may be incomplete at that since I was at work and had many interruptions!  Therefore, as always, I recommend you log into DDM yourself to hear the entire thing!

2015 was a BIG year!

After a brief discussion about the Christmas holiday, Katy opened the more official part of the Kafe with a question about Roger’s personal highlights during a year of much activity, including the release of the band’s latest album, promotion for the album, and tours in the U.S. and in the UK.  Roger focused much of his answer on the album, Paper Gods.  He talked a lot about how this album required more effort because they were co-producing it, which required their presence in the studio daily for 8 hours a day for 2 years.  (I had to sort of laugh at this–as it sounds like a normal daily job that most of us get to experience all the time!)  He furthered stated that it was a challenge to break through the perception that a “mature” (his word!) band has had their best work in the past, but that the live shows helped many get how good it is.  I have to concur on this.  Even when we ask fans about favorite songs, albums, etc., more than likely, they will choose something from Rio or the first album.

The Tours

From there, the discussion easily moved to focus on the tours in the US and in the UK.  Roger stated that he found the UK tour, in particular, to be “incredible” and one of the best tours ever.  He mentioned the show at the O2 Arena in London as an amazing show as “everything had fallen into place”.  Everything just seemed to work at that show and that it helps that everyone on stage is really relaxed with each other.  (Now, I really wished that I could have attended that one!  It sounds like it was an awesome show!)

Roger mentioned how long the shows were, especially in the UK and how well the new songs fit.  Last Night in the City is a favorite of his to play and that he thought that Pressure Off worked better live than some of the old songs!  He also mentioned how they were able to replicate the sampling and what not that was done in the studio for the live show.

Favorites

Katy asked Roger about some of his favorites from the past year, including album, movie, moment.  Roger’s responses weren’t that surprising.  For example, he chose Mark Ronson’s album along with the movie, Amy (about Amy Winehouse), which really was “intense” and showed what the industry requires of people.  (Note to self:  See the movie, Amy, when I can!)  His favorite moment of 2015?  It was playing at the O2 when “all the work they had done came to fruition”.  He also had a lot of family and friends in the audience.  In fact, he was able to spot his son, Julian, in the crowd, which is a really sweet story and well worth the time to listen to the entire Kafe!  He also enjoyed playing at the Hollywood Bowl and at Red Rocks.  Lastly, Roger was asked which word would describe 2015.  His answer:  Satisfaction.

Next Year

2016 will see a lot more touring for Duran Duran, which Roger is looking forward to since the live show has gotten better, according to him, with better lights and screens as well as more confidence with the new songs.  The US dates are already out there but he hopes to be able to add Italy, South America and Australia.  In fact, he expects that they will be touring pretty much the entire 2016.  I suspect that gives a lot of Duranies something to look forward to!

Holiday Greetings

As with any year end Kafe, Roger did send his holiday greetings to everyone.  I had to laugh when he said that Duran has the “most patient fans in the world”.  You could say that again, Roger!  😉  I would say that most fans are like Roger, though, in feeling pretty satisfied with how 2015 turned out for Duran Duran.

-A

I’ll hold on to the memories

Funny thing while writing this post earlier…I had just finished this 800-word blog and saw that I needed to delete one single word. I navigated to the word, hit “delete”, and the cursor moved, deleting each letter. Then it kept going. No matter what key I hit or how much I screamed (because you know that I was), the cursor kept going. 700 words later, I finally got it to stop. Well, that’s lovely.

I really don’t know what I hit, but it was user-error of epic proportion. So, I did what any human on a time-constraint might. I said several four-letter words, and slammed my laptop shut. So here I am, back for round two!!


Real life has been “challenging” as of late for me.  As those tests mixed with a few frustrations surrounding getting tickets for shows, I’ve found myself starting to think more and more about selling the tickets I had (or asking Amanda to sell them) and just not doing any shows next year.  Too expensive, too stressful, too unfair, and real-life problems are not sorting themselves out fast enough for me. So off and on I’ve considered that perhaps it is time for me to sit this one out.

This thought was in my head quite a bit over the weekend and truthfully I’m still not sure what I need to do. I am hoping that by not doing anything right now and just letting it all sort of “stew” during the winter holidays, perhaps after the first of the year the right answers will come. Like anything, it’s complicated.

As these thoughts were floating around in my head, I went about my business until I came across a quote posted on Anna Ross’ FB page.

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I stopped and read the quote, and then really thought about it. Oddly, I haven’t been listening to a lot of music lately.  Even when driving back and forth to take my kids to school – I’ve kept the radio off and driven in silence. (I needed peace) Even so, the quote hits home with me. It isn’t just about hearing the music, although sometimes the music is great. It’s the memories.

No matter how many times I’ve heard some songs live – new memories seem to be made each time.  One example I can give, and I tend to hesitate greatly with this one, is “Hungry Like the Wolf” (cue groaning). I was so sick of hearing that one live…until the All You Need is Now tour when Dom and John started coming to the front of stage to taunt…..err “play”…..part of it. I almost look forward to it in the set list now! “Save a Prayer” is another good example. I have seen it played many times and while I’ve always liked it, my memories of the song were mainly hearing Simon ask us to light up our mobile phones, that is, until the last time I saw it played at Agua Caliente. When I think about the song now, I think of driving all the way to Berkeley, back to Palm Springs, and then to my house. 1000 miles gives you a lot of time to think, rethink and overthink the simplest of things.  I remember Amanda reading me texts from friends while I was driving late at night, or walking to dinner and navigating uneven sidewalks in Berkeley while reading and answering email. “Wild Boys” takes me to the morning after the Agua Caliente show when  I drove like a crazy person from Palm Springs to LAX in order for Amanda to make her flight. It rained most of the way – which is pretty unheard of during October in So Cal – and that didn’t help me make-up time. “Pressure Off” makes me think of a party, complete with confetti cannons – which is a perfect description of the last tour in many respects.  I can’t really even think of “White Lines” without laughing at the memory of me ducking down behind a friend as Simon did his infamous water trick.  Farther back in my mind, I think of listening to John’s “Fields of Eden” as Amanda and I traveled in the UK by train, and “Secret Oktober” will forever remind me of being in Brighton – making it to that first UK show ever for me – and having the band break that one out.

The music would not be the same without the memories of people, places and things attached. The thoughts of those people, the places I’ve gone to see them, and the things I’ve done with them make me smile, even through some of the more painful portions of life.

I might not have all of the answers, but when I think about all of the fantastic memories I have from over the years I’ve seen Duran Duran – and all of the people I count as friends as a result, I don’t know how I could even think of missing shows next year. We will see.

-R

Something Cooking When You Play Guitar

I don’t know how other bloggers handle readers or their comments, but Amanda and I like to try to stay engaged with people.  So, we do tend to read the things being said on Facebook and Twitter, as well as comments sent directly to our blog.

One of the very best comments I’ve read…probably ever…was something posted in response to a blog I wrote a couple of days back regarding the show at Agua Caliente. I tried to put my feelings about that night into words, and even though I’m still not sure I conveyed it all properly, many readers seem to not only grasp what I was saying, they chimed in with their own feelings.

 “I always tell people, ‘I am the real me when I am at a Duran concert’ .” – Nicky Pryer, Facebook

A simple, thought-provoking statement, and I can’t get it out of my head.

Nicky’s statement sums up exactly how I feel. I’m not just a fan. I’m a mom, I home school, and I’m a wife among many other things…but I’m also a musician. I’ve played clarinet since I was 8. I’ve actually PLAYED at the Hollywood Bowl before. (Yes, on that same big stage.) I practiced for hours upon hours each day and it was my entire life outside of school. My life goals were two-fold: 1. Become principle clarinetist for the LA Phil. 2. Become an orchestra conductor.  I was very, very, serious about my craft, and auditioned for the now defunct junior philharmonic when I was 11. I made it the first time, and I remember the conductor telling me how unusual it was, but that I was very, very, good.  The pressure was enormous for me and I constantly felt like I needed to measure up to expectations. When I got to high school, I decided to quit the orchestra and play in the school marching band instead, and my entire life changed accordingly. I ended up doing pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought I’d be doing now: I stay at home, I’m married…and I have kids. Three (and a husband) more than I’d ever thought about when I was 12 or 13, actually. I didn’t even play the clarinet in college. Now, my playing is only done in private, and really if I’m going to be honest, those short moments (who can really practice with kids around?!?) are the times when I feel the most like myself.  It is the one thing I do that doesn’t get shared, and is completely and utterly for me. I love that. For my fortieth birthday, my family bought me a new clarinet. It wasn’t just your average student version – it was a professional, very expensive model. I cried when I opened it because I will likely never play on a professional stage again, but I treasure that darn thing to pieces. I’d sell my Duran Duran collection before I’d ever sell that clarinet – just to show its importance to me. Music courses through my veins and continues to be my lifeblood…and when I go to see shows, particular Duran Duran, I feel flickers of that coming through.

I could write this particular post from the angle that I’m normally just your basic mom, or that I revert back to my inner-teen when the band comes on stage…and for the most part, that would be appropriate and pretty real-life. But for me, those descriptions would still leave something untouched. Yes, of course I scream for the band. Sure, I clap, dance, and even bat my eyelashes with abandon, but there’s more going on than just fan-girl adoring (and I say this knowing it is true for many, if not most of you out there). When I stand in front of the band and they are playing, I am able to block out everything else and just hear the notes and words, and I recognize myself again. I think many of us are that way, and this is just MY version of that story.

Recently, I tried to describe my feelings to someone by saying that when a song is played well, even though I know that I am one of thousands in the room, it feels as though I’m the only person there and that it’s being played just for me. I have no doubt that the person I said that to thought it was “just” an adoring fan girl moment for sure, but that isn’t what I meant at all. I won’t lie, it kind of makes me gag a little that it was taken that way (I should’ve known better), and also irks me that I didn’t explain it better so they’d get it and take my comment seriously. That person doesn’t know me well enough to understand that I said that as a musician – not as a fan, and yes, that difference DOES matter to me in this particular situation. I meant that those notes become a part of me. I can SEE the music as they’re playing it. I think about the key signatures, the dynamics…the chords… and it all transports me away from the person I am now, away from being a fan, back to JUST the music…which is really at the very heart of who I am.

Please don’t read this post thinking that I’m trying to say that I experience the shows more seriously, or differently than others. Anyone who has stood next to me at shows knows, I go as crazy as anyone else! (Trust me – I adore the band like anyone else as I stand staring at Dom’s striped socks inches from me, or I watch Nick grin down at me as he starts in with the chords to Hungry Like the Wolf. Or maybe when I see Roger twirl his drum stick in Wild Boys, or when John waits for us to shout “Switch it Off in Planet Earth…or when I watch Simon point to John as he sings the line “big sky” in Sunrise. I am a fan, and live for those moments!) I can only say that when I start feeling like the “Real” Rhonda, someone who I kind of think I left behind in high school or maybe even college, I’m only thinking about the music. How it looks. How it feels. How it makes me feel. Even when Simon Willescroft plays the sax in Rio, I’m standing there paying rapt attention to the keys and how he sounds, considering why it might be that some nights it sounds better than others. Or I think about why I prefer the sound a straight soprano sax makes compared to the hooked neck one he has used in Tiger Tiger. (Sorry Simon!) Then I remember that I gave up playing professionally years before, and sometimes, that makes me sad.

Seeing Duran Duran isn’t entirely about leaving my responsibilities behind or reverting back to that little girl who hung their posters in her bedroom. No, sometimes it’s about remembering how much I love music. How much I love playing. Sometimes it’s about feeling inspired to practice, or using some of the music theory I’ve learned to write a review…or even just hearing the notes or bass line a little differently than I heard it on my stereo at home. Seeing John smile at the audience makes me smile and glow in turn, but those precious few minutes when I am past all of that, and my head is completely and totally submerged in the music – that time is golden above all else, and it is when I feel the most like me.

-R

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

Paper Gods CA Tour: The Aftermath

It is fun to get away, and really nice to come home. That is exactly how I would characterize this past little road trip on all accounts. In some respects, being with friends and seeing #Duranlive again really felt like coming home; and in other ways, walking into my house last night after a long weekend of driving 1200 miles, some mild debauchery was really welcome. I’m tired!!

For a lot of fans, the joy of a tour comes from seeing the band. This is obvious – I mean, one goes to a show and sees the band play. Done and done, right? Then there are the other people, like me, who have gone to “more than a few” shows over the years, and have made quite a circle of friends as result. The shows go from being solely about the band to being about having a reunion of sorts.  It isn’t all about the band any longer. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a huge part of the allegory (indirect storytelling, usually used in reference to large paintings). The band is like the background, and the connections, relationships, and friendships are the details.

This past week was a perfect example of the community that this band has created, whether by design, or circumstance. I drove to Hollywood on Tuesday to see Duran Duran at the Jimmy Kimmel show, and as I walked in the 93 degree heat to the back of the theatre, I immediately saw friends. Suddenly the afternoon wasn’t defined solely by the torture of standing on a very hot sidewalk while trying not to melt; instead we talked, laughed, and maybe even squealed in delight when we saw the band arrive, caught a glimpse of Mr. Hudson and Dom speaking on stage (We were peaking through the chain-link fence bordering the property!), and especially when we heard the sounds of “You Kill Me With Silence” mixing with the exhaustive late-afternoon heat. Even without Amanda present, I felt completely at home with friends I hadn’t seen since April or prior as we filed past security and found space to stand in front of the stage. When the band finally filtered onto the stage, it was clear they were just as happy to see us – smiles of recognition and surprise exchanged, as the next layer of details began to be added to our story.

During the next 24-hours, Amanda arrived (it is so nice to have both halves of Daily Duranie together!), our friend Heather arrived from Canada, and we found ourselves doing more laughing and talking over, yes – drinks – at more than one bar in the city. (I even got Amanda to eat at In-N-Out, which was a MIRACLE!!! She had grilled cheese, since she’s a vegetarian. She survived!)  The next day we paid (Ok, I paid) for the activities of the day prior, and then we hosted our fan meet-up at the Hollywood-Highland Hard Rock Cafe. I never quite know how these things are going to go. I’m not confident enough to assume that everyone who RSVP’s is actually going to show up, so I spend at least part of the time worrying. I needn’t this time, because we had about 50 DD fans show up to celebrate with us. It was fantastic! There were friends from near and far, and some as far away as Canada. We loved seeing people come up to our area as virtual strangers and end up leaving with new contacts and friends – that is the whole point! We’re proud to be a small portion of the catalyst that brings people together. We sat at a series of lined up tables, talked, laughed and reminisced our way through bad service until it was time to leave for the VIP party at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Bowl itself was another story – 17,000+ people is “kind of” a lot, and I found it to be a giant clusterfuck of activity. Not that it was a bad thing – but after floating with the crowd through the gates and up to our seats, I just stayed put. Even so, friends were tweeting throughout the venue, and it was clear that many of us were all there together to support the band. There’s something incredibly unifying about that. I know the band probably loved the idea of so many “new” people in the crowd for them (and rightly so!), but as a long time fan, there was a part of me that loved knowing so many diehards (like me) were there too, experiencing and probably exhibiting the same pride and affection that I felt that night. That’s good stuff!

After the show, there was a cocktail party for the band and friends, family, and industry types. As I’m sure most know – Amanda and I were shockingly left off the guest list!! (read: sarcasm.) I had a male friend ask where I was that night because he was at the party and spoke with one of my close friends. I appreciate the vote of confidence, but let’s face it: I’m no celebrity or rock star, and no “friend of mine” offered to get me in. (cough, cough) So once again we floated back down the hill with the crowd, got into our shuttle, and spent the next 45 minutes in traffic waiting to get back to our parking spot at the Hollywood-Highland Center (next time, I’m walking). Then we changed into proper driving attire (read: comfortable), and boarded the Duranie “bus.” (my car, which is not really a bus at all) for a 3-hour drive before we stopped for the night. We spent that trip listening to Duran Duran, talking about the show (it was our friend Heather’s very first DD show ever), exchanging texts with a friend who was at the cocktail party, and dishing over the shows to come.

Our next bit of activity took place the next day as we cruised into Berkeley. Another Duranie friend (that we’d never met in person, no less) did us the kindness of planning a get-together for dinner before the show in Berkeley, so our pre-show was once again spent with friends – both old and new – laughing about everything under the sun. By the time we walked back up through the UC Berkeley campus to the venue, we were in a great mood, tired or not, ready for a fantastic show ahead. As we sat in our seats that night, anxious for Duran Duran to take the stage, several really great friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time came up to see Amanda and I. I loved seeing everyone, and it reminded me that our Duran-world is small and closer-knit than we might think.

After the show, Amanda and I agreed to go for drinks (As the bus driver, I had water, thankyouverymuch.) with our friends Melissa and Julie. We walked back down through the now very much drunken side streets of UC Berkeley on the way to find a bar.  I’d forgotten the fun of Friday nights in a college town, and I’d also forgotten that we were about twice the age of most of the kids present, but we still found a great place to hang out for a while as we relaxed and rehashed the show, and only got a few sideways-looks from the kids who showed up for beer and giant-sized Jenga.

The next day, we started our long trek to Rancho Mirage, which is in the California desert near Palm Springs. 7-and-a-half hours is a long time to spend in the car, even if it’s MY car.  Even so, we spent our time wisely: devising a set list of epic magnitude, that we then tweeted directly to Simon, John (yes I know he’s no longer active on Twitter.) and DDHQ, similar to what we’d done in the days prior. Why? Because yes, we are as obnoxious as possible sometimes. As Amanda and I made the initial list of songs, and then meticulously discussed the order in which the songs should be presented (we even created a medley), our friend Heather remained mostly silent in the back seat. Out of nowhere, Heather mused, “If people only knew how much time and energy you two spend on every single detail…” Amanda and I just started laughing. It was a silly set list, but we wanted it to be perfect.  Can you think of a better way to spend 7 hours in the car?!?

Saving the best for last, we arrived at Agua Caliente and hauled our luggage upstairs to the room where our friend Shelly was waiting. We didn’t even make it all the way down the hall before Shelly was out the door, into the hall and hugging us. It was like coming home. We quickly ordered pizza, changed clothing and got ready to go downstairs for another Daily Duranie meet-up in the bar. We arrived at Rendezvous to Shannon and her friends waiting at a table. We quickly commandeered our own table, ordered a round for ourselves and let the party unfold. So many Duranies showed up that night – I lost count, but it was fantastic. We met new friends like Liz “@Adora2000” and Suzie “@STOgonewild” along with many others that I am completely forgetting…and still an absolute ton of longtime Duran fans reuniting, hugging, giggling, talking, and contemplating our collective journey. We talked Paper Gods, band members, touring band members, future touring hopes, and leather pants, of all things. Before we knew it, showtime was upon us and we were ready.

Post-show saw continued festivities in Rendezvous (liked the hotel, did not enjoy the cigarette smoke in the air which threatened to leave me sans voice), with a somewhat smaller, but louder(!!) group of fans. Amanda and I were treated to a few rounds of drinks by a reader named Richard (thanks again!!), and LOTS of laughter. Despite( or even in spite?) of it being the last show for a while, we remained joyful, replaying the entire show, elbows on stage and all, over and over as we sat at the table until wee hours of the morning when a few tweets from a certain guitarist signaled that the band had made their way safely back to Los Angeles and on to whatever came next. For Amanda and I, it meant a short night of sleep before once again climbing back into the Duranie bus for a trip to LAX.

Today, I’m at home.  I’m about to get ready and get in the car one more time to drive Heather back to LAX so that she can board a plane bound for Canada. I’m in disbelief that the good times have ended, so I’m simply saying I need to give the band a break from me for a while. I mean, there’s only so much of me one can take, never mind the rest of you, who seem to keep coming back and reading again and again, of which Amanda and I are so thankful.  Seeing the band again was so fantastic, and I have a whole set of memories about the shows and interacting with them that I haven’t even began to touch upon here, but I wanted to share the memories I have with a lot of YOU from the weekend. In the end, those moments matter just as much, if not more.

Simon said something at a couple of the shows that really struck home with Amanda and I, because we’ve said it many times! He talked about how after they create the music, they really give it to the fans and it becomes ours. Then they go on tour, and share it with us – and it becomes a sort of cyclical process where they give the music, we take it and then we give energy back to them – it’s really synergy in that respect – but the point is that we’re part of the cycle.  Amanda and I have talked about that many times here on the blog (MANY. TIMES.), and I want to encourage everyone – when they announce tour dates, find the time and go. I can’t create a proper picture in words of what that band does at a show, or how I feel when I have had a long weekend with the friends I’ve made as a result.

You just need to go, and I’ll see you there.

-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