Raise your hands! Who was up late last night anxiously waiting for our favorite band to appear on stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of the iHeart Music Festival, which, thankfully, was streamed online?! I was, along with my partner-in-crime, despite or, maybe, because of my better judgment. I wasn’t feeling all that great and had been up since 4:30 in the morning. Yet, I figured that it would be a chance to practice for tour and a fun way to spend a Friday night as we hung out online, chatting with other fans through it all! Oh, yes, we certainly needed to vent, to whine, to complain, to laugh, to talk about many, many of the artists appearing before Duran Duran. (Seriously, people, can someone please explain Lil Wayne and his appeal?! I’m not removed from youth culture as I teach in an urban high school but I still don’t get it. To say that he is a misogynist would be an understatement!) After what seemed like decades, at times, Duran Duran finally appeared. If you missed the performance, YouTube can provide:
Want to know what I thought about this performance?! I assume you do because you are here and still reading!
I truly do feel like crowds/audiences matter. I have seen shows in which the crowd give Duran Duran a boost as if the audience was sending energy directly to the band. I have also seen shows in which the crowd lacks excitement, bringing Duran down or making it REALLY hard for them to keep up their enthusiasm. Then, there are shows like this. The Killers played right before Duran and I watched in shock at how much they had to really push to get the audience involved and excited for even some of their biggest, most well-known songs like Mr. Brightside. The audience wasn’t having it. Was the crowd there to just see Kanye or to see Lil Wayne? Clearly, if the Killers weren’t their thing, it was going to be super tough for Duran. People were obviously sitting. Even when the camera scanned for someone excited, someone who might know the lyrics, it seemed to be a struggle to find any sort of fan or positive energy heading Duran’s way. It was upsetting for me to watch as I could tell that they were giving it their all. I wonder how many Duranies actually attended this festival. I don’t really know anyone who did and I have to wonder if that would have made a difference.
Duran kept to a hits based setlist, much like the Killers did, frankly. Duran played Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Pressure Off, Ordinary World and Rio. I think it is pretty standard for bands/artists to play big hits when playing a festival. After all, the crowd is not filled with just Duranies, but with people who might not know Duran or might not know them well. Therefore, it is safe to play the hits as maybe some people will recognize them, remember how good they are, seek out albums, etc. Yet, I don’t think that works as well for a festival like this one. It seemed to me that most of the audience was young–far too young to know any of those hits, including the most recent, Ordinary World. So, if they don’t know the hits anyway, would Duran have been better to showcase more of their new stuff? After all, we know it has a very modern sound to it. Could they have won the audience over somewhat with new songs? Maybe. I just know that by the time Pressure Off was played, most of the audience had stopped paying attention, which is really sad because it is very clear that Duran is loving that song and love playing it live.
By the end of the night, most of the discussion on Twitter began to focus on Simon and concern people have. He seemed to really strain himself during Ordinary World and people commented about how that seemed to be the case during the Today Show mini-concert, too. I have heard from other fans that they assume he isn’t feeling well as he was blowing his nose a lot during the show at Terminal 5 (Look for a guest blog on that show soon!). I obviously don’t know if he is fighting some sort of bug or what, but I do know that I saw a lot of concerned fans last night who are only focused on Simon’s health and well-being.
So far my commentary has focused on some of the less than thrilling thoughts I have regarding last night’s performance but I don’t want to leave you all with the impression that nothing was good about last night. On the contrary, there was plenty right with last night. First, it was a heck of a lot of fun to virtually hang with other fans while watching and I was pleased to see so many fans join us despite the lateness of the hour. Second, it is ALWAYS good to see a performance of Duran’s. All it takes is one or two moments to remember why you love them so. For example, seeing John, Simon and Dom in a row on stage rocking out to Wild Boys always gives me goosebumps. Seeing the playful exchange between Anna and Simon during Pressure Off only increases my excitement in seeing that one live. EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. of JoSi (John and Simon) or DoJo (Dom and John) reminds me. Speaking of DoJo, was it my imagination or were there tons of DoJo moments?! It felt like practically every song featured a moment or two! As Rhonda and I were pointing out last night, those DoJo moments at the Bowl will be “sweet torture”. We cannot wait!!! Beyond all of that, the fangirl in me is forced to admit that they also looked pretty dang good last night!! I might have squeed a time or two when the camera moved to that bass player guy.
Enough about what I thought! What about the rest of you? What did you think of their performance? The crowd? Anyone actually there in attendance? If so, I would love to hear your perspective! All I do know is that it is going to be a long 10 days before I leave for tour!