Tag Archives: John Taylor

What WON’T the band do for their 40th anniversary?

I’ve noticed a lot of people working on surveys and things, putting together a wish list for Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary. I suspect the intention is that if fans work together to come up with a cohesive list, then perhaps the band will take a look and perhaps see their way clear to incorporating some of the ideas into their celebration plans. Maybe.

Amanda and I haven’t really done much of that here on the blog. I suspect part of the reason is that we’ve been around for six years, and during that time – while we’ve gotten support from DDHQ – I think we’ve come to realize they’re not going to take us seriously when it comes to the business of the band, and quite frankly – they’re probably smarter that way.  That doesn’t stop either of us from looking side-eyed at some of the things that have been done over the years, but you know, it’s much easier to quarterback from the sidelines than it is to actually be in the game. I don’t think we were always quite that accepting, but you know, Amanda and I have changed a little bit over the years.  Now we’re just having fun with it all.

That doesn’t mean we don’t throw some ideas out there every once in a while for fun though, and today will be no exception as I put together a short list of things the band will (probably) NOT do during #DD40!

Play a cruise!

I dearly love every human being who has suggested that Duran Duran basically put themselves on a cruise ship with what, 3-4,000 of their most rabid fans. How could that possibly go wrong??

Let’s just think about that for a minute: sun, water, several bars, thousands of fans who may or may not have partaken in said alcohol….and nowhere the band can really go to hide. Or run. Outstanding!

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that won’t be happening. Again, love the enthusiasm, but probably not for their 40th anniversary.

Play shows with Dom, Andy and Warren…at the same time!

Again, love the enthusiasm for their 40th anniversary.  Honestly, I think about the possibility of this purely for the entertainment value.  Can you imagine all three of them on stage? Together? Two of them have enormous egos…the third might be trampled in the process. All together onstage for the same shows, same songs?  My money is on a firm “no”.

For that matter, why don’t we bring back everyone who has ever played with the band to play onstage? Andy Hamilton, all of the backup singers, Sterling, Steve Ferrone, Joe Travers…is there a stage large enough???

More travel packages!

This is one idea that I could see the band instituting in part, but I’m going to gamble and say they won’t do it again, even for their 40th anniversary. Back before Astronaut was released, the band did a few very special travel packages that were in extremely limited quantity. Fans paid a tidy sum for a ticket to a specific show, accommodations, special merchandise, concierge service, and a cocktail party with all five band members in attendance. I have a good friend that bought a travel package, and by her account it was extremely well-organized and thought out, and I think it’s fair to say it was a very positive experience for her. The travel packages went from these extravagant luxuries down to a ticket and a quick meet and greet, and then they morphed into meet and greets given at random to VIP ticket buyers, and now none of the VIP packages come with anything other than the ticket, merchandise and possible cocktail parties in some cities (without the band in attendance).

I know the demand for these travel packages (and meet and greets) still exists, but I think the band hated them for the most part.  I can imagine the thought of going into a room filled with Duranies can be a bit overwhelming. I can’t blame them even if I might wish I’d been able to take advantage when meet and greets or travel packages were offered.

Play individual albums in their entirety!

The one suggestion I’ve seen over and over again is to play Rio, or any of their albums – entirely live for their 40th anniversary. It’s the one suggestion that I am positive most Duran fans want (even if there is discussion over which album they’d most like to see done that way), and it is the one suggestion that the band just doesn’t seem to get.

Just last week, Lori Majewski had John Taylor call in on her radio show, and she mentioned playing Rio live. John thinks we’d be bored (sometimes, I really don’t think they know their fans) because we’d already know the set list.

Ok, John. I get you. I’d just invite you to take a good look at your set list for the past few years as you’ve been touring Paper Gods, and then tell me again that fans get bored when they know the set list. The fact is, to have an entire album played live is a completely different experience than many of us have had before – Red Carpet Massacre aside.  For that matter, you could mix it up and that way, you’re not playing the same album over and over, and if fans like me want to see them all—they’re gonna have to take a leave of absence from their lives and travel to different shows to do it.

Even so, I think it’s safe to assume the band isn’t going to listen to reason on this one. They’re gonna play the hits, and we’re going to like it.

My heart is still hoping for Late Bar…but my head knows we’re getting Hungry Like the Wolf.

Intimate shows of 3,000 or less!

Let’s be real. Again, this one is a gamble, but I’m thinking money-wise, touring the 40th anniversary would be a cash cow. Why on earth would they only want to play in small venues when they can play arenas and bring in more money?

Personally, I’d love to see them play in smaller theaters so that long time fans have the opportunity to get up close and celebrate with this band. I’d like to see fans acknowledged for the time and energy we’ve given over the years. Who wouldn’t? That said, the lure for a huge “comeback” anniversary tour (no, they never left but the rest of the country, world, so forth probably doesn’t know that) is ever looming.

I’m just hoping they don’t decide to do that “Verified Fan” thing through Ticketmaster…

There are a lot of things I’d like to see the band do for their 40th anniversary. Mostly, I’m at a point where I’m just happy to see they’re still around fighting the good fight.  I’m looking forward to reading what they’ve got planned, and I’m hoping that I can take an active part in some of it along the way!

-R

What’s Your Favorite Live Recording of a DD song?

DDHQ asked for our favorite live recording of a Duran Duran song this morning. At first, I stumbled over the words. It’s Monday, I’m already tired (not really a great sign for the week ahead) and I can’t seem to make much sense out of anything yet. Live songs? Do they record anything? Seriously – it’s been that sort of morning so far.

But then, as I went about my normal tasks of feeding the animals and complaining about dishes being left in the sink, I remembered a show!  Costa Mesa, 2003. The entire show was recorded and I ordered the CD.  The Encore Series was the name.

Granted, I am pretty sure I’ve seen better shows since then. Or maybe it’s just that my seats have improved significantly in the years since, I don’t know. The fact remains that when I think about all of the shows I’ve seen over the years – that one is a definite standout, and not because it positively ticks off all of the boxes on Amanda’s Concert Rubric. Simply put, it was the very first time I’d ever seen Duran Duran – all FIVE original members of Duran Duran – on the same stage.

I don’t even remember a lot from that show, to be honest. I got there, winced at how far back our seats were from the stage (I went with my husband and I think we were about 23 rows back and off to John’s side), and once the band took the stage, I stood there pinching myself to make sure that what I was seeing really wasn’t just my overactive imagination working overtime. I remember watching as someone decided to jump up onto the stage and nearly tackle Simon as he sidestepped and allowed Dave, the band’s security, to grab her. (I won’t give away her name, but I’m pretty sure I’m friends with this woman to this day. I nearly died the day I found out she was the culprit!) I also remember Roger stepping away from his drums at the end of their set, tongue wagging as though he’d run a marathon or two. But mostly, I just remember standing there thinking about how lucky I was to be there, and how thankful I was to still be a fan so that I could finally see them all together on stage.

I am one of those people who cannot stand it when we ask a “This or That” question here on the blog and people vote by saying “both!” It’s freaking annoying (to me).  I usually grit my teeth and say “make a choice, dammit!” Probably not the nicest thing to cross my mind, but I’m being honest here.  Now it’s my turn to choose. This show, which is definitely my favorite live recording of them, wasn’t about what they played or how long they were on stage or even about how many songs they played. It was that they were there in front of me. They showed up. They were together, and I had this feeling I was at the beginning of a wild, new ride. Even so, for the sake of participation, my favorite from that set has to be Virus.  No, not a song from their back catalog, not New Religion (which is a very close second), but Virus, because I loved it.  The song had the hard edge I was looking for, I could hear all five members working together, and to this day I’m giddy when it comes up on my phone.

Thanks to DDHQ for that question today – it gave me a chance to think about that fantastic show!

-R

 

 

Songs for Intellectuals

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, an intellectual is:  1.  of or relating to the intellect or its use rather than by emotion or experience or 2. given to study, reflection and speculation.  The other day, John Taylor mentioned this term in the band’s oral history of the Rio album.  In that oral history, he stated that The Chauffeur is that album’s song for intellectuals.  He also mentioned about how a friend of his said that every album needs a song for those thinking people.

Anyone who knows me is not surprised to find out that this got me thinking.  (How intellectual of me!)  I cannot deny that I like to think, study, reflect, analyze or however you want to say it.  My parents are to blame as I grew up in a household in which vacations meant museum visits, dinner discussions included current events and basic knowledge, and daily activities involved reading or looking up information.  Therefore, this thinking, speculating thing is part of my DNA.  Intellectual might be going a bit far but I do like to think.

So, what did I think John’s statement regarding The Chauffeur?  What did I think about this idea that every album needs a song for intellectuals?  First, if there is a song for intellectuals on Rio, I agree that it must be The Chauffeur.  While I think the lyrics on many of the songs on that album are fascinating and make me think, the lyrics for The Chauffeur are definitely more poetic than the rest.  Because of this, one might spend more time thinking about what Simon is trying to say and why.  Those lyrics are definitely less straight forward than say Save a Prayer.  Second, do I think that every album needs a song for intellectuals?  Need is obviously the key word there.  Would an album be less good, have less quality without a thinking person’s song?  I’m not sure about that.  Would Rio not be as good if say the song, “Like an Angel” was included instead of The Chauffeur?  The quality might decline a little but that is based on the quality of the song as opposed to intellectual vs. not.  That said, I do love, love, love the songs that make me think.  It is one thing that I really do appreciate about Duran.  While Duran is a lot of fun on the surface, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye.  They often make me think with almost every song, video, etc. they do.

If Duran really has followed this philosophy, can we pick out the intellectual song in each album?  When did they start this?  Are there some albums that might have more than one?

Does the first album have one?  If so, I might have to say that Friends of Mine might be more intellectual than the rest.  Yet, at the same time, it fits with the rest of the album.  It doesn’t stand out in the way The Chauffeur does on Rio.  Hmm…What about Seven and the Ragged Tiger?  Is there one on there?  A lot of the lyrics do make me think as they are not obvious about what they are about.  If that is the criteria, then, maybe The Reflex?  Union of the Snake?  Again, I’m not sure those really fit the idea that they are for intellectuals.  What about Notorious?  Winter Marches On?  Ugh.  I think I suck at trying to figure this out!!!

Maybe, I’ll have better luck in the late 80s/90s albums?  I think The Edge of America might fit in the criteria for intellectual song.  What does the edge mean?  Why is there is anger?  The lyrics are not that poetic or obscure.  Yet, the song makes me think.  Nothing pops out for me for Liberty.  The Wedding Album’s intellectual song could be Too Much Information as it might make people consider the role of media.  Breath After Breath is very much a different type of song.  Could that be it?  Could they both be??  Medazzaland might have a bunch since the entire album feels very different.  In fact, it might be easier to pick the songs that are more obvious than the opposite.  I’m not sure about Pop Trash.  Ugh.

Post reunion albums are not really any easier to determine the intellectual songs for.  For Astronaut, I might pick Finest Hour.  While the lyrics could be applied to many situations, it has a connection to Churchill and his speech during World War II.  It makes my historian brain think then.  Red Carpet Massacre is interesting.  There are definitely non-intellectual songs on that album, including the ones produced by Timbaland.  That said, there are songs, like Red Carpet Massacre, that seem to be about one thing but could be about something else.  I bet All You Need Is Now has two:  The Man Who Stole a Leopard and Before the Rain.  For Paper Gods, is it the title track?  Only in Dreams?  Both?

Clearly, the answers are not obvious AT ALL.  I made some guesses but I really have no idea if any of songs I considered are ones that the band would consider.  Maybe, all of you have different ideas about which songs are the ones for intellectuals.  Perhaps, what we should do is figure out actual criteria and then consider each album.  What do all of you think?!  Come on, intellectuals, let me hear from you!

-A

On a different note, I want to wish all mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day!

35 Years and Counting: RIO!

Can you believe it? Thirty-five wild and crazy years ago today, Rio came into our world.

I bought Rio when it came out, and for a brief time thought it was Duran Duran’s first album. I was very confused, apparently. The thing is – I’d heard Planet Earth, and I had a K-Tel record with Girls on Film, but I hadn’t heard those songs on the radio much. But Rio? Please.

Truth be told, Rio was released a full year before I believe it really took off here in America. It’s first release here fell flat, not doing particularly well. Capitol Records hired David Kershenbaum to do a dance-remix of several songs off the album (released as Carnival).  Those remixes are a little more guitar-heavy, a little less synth, a little more bass in sound. Eventually, Capitol had Kershenbaum go back and remix most of the rest of the album and then re-released it in America, promoting it as a dance album. That’s when sales started to pick up steam and the band began to climb the charts.

Suddenly Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf were everywhere, and Is There Something I Should Know wasn’t far behind…which is why I thought it was the next album, rather than being the first.  But then again, my UK friends will remind me that it was NOT the first, because on their version of the first album – ITSISK is nowhere to be found, and they are correct.  It’s just on our altered US versions that there’s no To The Shore, with ITSISK instead. (my head is spinning even as I recall this from memory)

Honestly, if you want my most vivid memories from Rio, they would be my realizing that I had the order of their albums wrong….and that champagne stuff Simon drank while in the ocean.  To this very day, every single time I think of Rio, that vision comes to mind. Not the fake crab on Roger, not pallid-looking Nick in the galley, definitely not a daydreamy John Taylor on the sand or even Andy being thrown overboard…but Simon, drinking out of a champagne glass in the ocean.

I just don’t know.

Despite testing the waters with Planet Earth and even Girls on Film before the Rio album – it was truly this album that set my world on fire. I think that the band continues to be judged for Rio, without a lot of regard for anything else they’ve done (perhaps with a few exceptions), and many believe it to be the pinnacle of their career.

I love Rio. I also appreciate and love everything Duran Duran has done (yes, even RCM. Ok?!?), because at this point, nearly forty years into our journey – it really IS about the whole journey. It has been a crazy, wicked, wild, ride, and I’m ready for more.

I am writing this and I haven’t had any time yet this morning to actually listen to the oral history. I’m hoping to get a chance later today….but I might just have to let Amanda be the one to comment on it due to a lack of time on my part. Or else, I’ll comment later. I am really looking forward to hearing it though, because it’s not that often we get the opportunity to look back at something with the band and get their point of view.

It’s a special day in Duranland, and I’m thankful to be able to be here and experience it with everyone else. Happy 35th Birthday, Rio!

-R

Where does the time go? Come Undone peaks at #7 in 1993.

Well, my spring break has come and gone, and this week it is about getting back into the normal groove. I’m being shaken (with a vengeance) back into reality this week at work because I will be the only admin in the building, which means my downtime will be non-existent. Amanda will be proud, I haven’t even looked at my email yet!! From now until the end of May, which is when my job goes on hiatus (until Septemberish), work and life is jam-packed.  In between teaching lessons, I am taking a last few cleansing breaths before it all begins in the morning.

It’s almost a good thing the band seems quiet right now, I guess…although rest assured I’d much rather be thinking, talking, and planning Duran Duran things. I’m anxious for school to end and summer to begin on one hand, and on the other, I guess I’m coming to terms with the idea that my son Gavin will be graduating and I will no longer be teaching him. In some ways that feels liberating, and in others, I’m sad.

Things are definitely changing here at Casa Rivera. Over my spring break, I had a full list of things to do, many of which didn’t happen—but one thing I did actually finish was moving my youngest upstairs.  My oldest is in an apartment near her school, and so I attempted to clear out her bedroom completely (not an easy feat – my home is her storage unit, apparently!) and then move the little one up there. Up until this weekend, we’d converted our den into a tiny bedroom for her rather than force the girls to share. They are 11 years apart (yes, we plan wonderfully!) so sharing didn’t seem like the best option for anyone. Last night, as I finished sweeping out the downstairs room (which is soon to become my office, yay!), I commented that it’s weird, first we worked to fill the rooms, and now I’m working to empty them. Gavin’s room is next, I suppose, as he’ll be moving to his college in September. Where does the time go?

That sort of fits the theme going forward for the next few years. Where does the time really go?? I suspect the band is going to be a bit more nostalgic than maybe we’re used to, as they celebrate their 40th anniversary. In the podcast interview with Joss Paterson (I believe you can find it on iTunes) John mentioned that they plan to start celebrating that next year, and then kind of rolling it over for the next three years because the genesis (to use John’s words) of the band was in 1978, but it went through changes initially, and then Simon joined in 1980. I don’t really know what the band has planned as far as celebrating goes, but I am sure we’ll all enjoy a look back. As fans of this band, we have a collective history that each of us have had some small part in shaping to get where we are.

With that in mind, I’m here to remind you that on this date in 1993, Come Undone peaked at #7 in the US. Feels like yesterday!

-R

Saw a Close Up: Fame, Privacy and Criticism

I am a member of many different Duran Duran groups on Facebook.  For the most part, I just read the posts but rarely participate.  In fact, I probably have only posted to share an event that Rhonda and I were hosting, either online or in person.  Despite my lack of commenting, I still like to read to see what Duranies are talking about.  I’m a student of fandom and Duran fandom, in particular, after all.  In most cases, the topics fit into the usual categories of concert going, seeing a Duran reference somewhere, finding a cool clip on YouTube, and more.

This week, though, I saw some photos of John Taylor posted in a number of different Facebook groups.  These pictures featured a shirtless JT on a beach.  Perhaps, they were taken when they were in Miami.  I’m not sure.  Some groups posted one or two pics while others posted many.  Immediately following the photos came the comments, which were often numerous and critical.  I chose not to say anything but filed my reaction away in my brain for this little blog here.

The first thing I noticed about these photographs was that they were clearly not posed.  The photographer snapped the pictures as John walked around the beach, sat read a book or socializing with those near him.  I suspect that these photos were taken without John’s permission and, perhaps, without his knowledge.  Now, this argument I’m about to make is not a new one but one I can apply to many celebrities.  Does being a celebrity mean one’s privacy can and should be invaded so that their fans can see scenes from all aspects of one’s life?  Personally, I don’t think so.  I think John’s job is to perform on stage.  It isn’t to have pictures taken of him when he is away from the job.  Being a rock star doesn’t mean that he can’t have time off and away.

Now, I know that others say that one must accept things like having people take your picture whenever and wherever you show up when you are a celebrity.  The idea is that if someone wants to be famous, s/he must know that privacy is not an option anymore.  The argument would say that if John wanted to go swimming, he should have stuck to private pools.  I disagree.  I think that everyone, no matter the level of fame should have the right to some privacy.  I also feel like there can and should be a line between John’s (and any celebrity’s) job and personal life.

Then, if that was not enough, the comments I saw in response shocked me.  Many stated things like “John needs a gym” and “He really never had a body”.  The first thought that popped into my mind was, “I hope John doesn’t read these comments.”  Truly, these kind of statements are nothing but hurtful and mean.  Again, I suspect that people feel that John’s famous person status means that they can say whatever they think.  As a celebrity, he should expect that level of examination and criticism, right?  Wrong.  He along with the rest of the band should expect criticism about their albums, their videos, etc.  They do not deserve mean-spirited statements about their appearances.

I know that I wouldn’t want anyone to talk about me that way.  Why would I think I could talk about others that way?  I could point out that none of us are perfect, physically, and that John is 56 years old.  Honestly, I could only be so lucky to look a fraction as good when I am his age.  Heck, I won’t appear on a beach in a bathing suit anywhere so I admire the heck out of him being able to do so.

Now, I know that some will say that they didn’t mean anything by posting the pictures or by making the comments that were made.  I’m sure the fans will say that they still love him and all that.  Still, I have to say that the pictures and the comments made me uncomfortable.  Yes, some will say that John might not care but I did and I’m sure that other fans who saw those posts felt the same way.

-A

The Distance Between Us – Techno For Two released, 2001

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

This feels like a John Taylor sort of day to me. This is appropriate because on this date in 2001, Techno for Two was released in Japan.

Now, maybe some of you are now squinty-eyed and wondering “What in the hell is that about?” Fair enough.

This is the fourth solo album released by Mr. Taylor, and in my little opinion – it’s his best. It includes “Mister J”, “Mansman”, “Tight”, “Immortal”, and my personal favorite, “6000 Miles”.  The album feels very introspective to me, and I guess I must like that about John’s writing.

I like a lot of John’s solo efforts, but this album is indeed my favorite. One of my favorite memories is traveling by train in England, looking out at the gorgeous countryside while “6000 Miles” played in my ears.  (Not the Ventura Mix..the original ballad) The timing couldn’t have been better, and now I can’t think of that trip without hearing that song in my head. Funny how music works.

What is even more fascinating to me is that at the time this came out, Duran Duran was in the progress of putting the original line-up back together again. In hindsight, I think I can see the beginnings of that through this album and the way it was written. Trust the Process, indeed.  Everything happens for a reason, and I don’t think I’m entirely out of line by believing that John needed that solo time to get to the place he currently resides today.

It’s also a little hard, in some ways, to believe that this album is now sixteen years old. So, while I’m in a quiet, reflective sort of mood today – I’m going to give Techno for Two a listen. If you don’t have a copy of the album, you can find a lot, if not all, of the songs on YouTube.

-R

You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone

Well, the spring run of shows is over, and the band has gone back to England.

I feel a little deflated, and yet my shows ended weeks ago. If that weren’t enough, I’ve seen a few people comment that they’ve never seen a tour happen this way – and so that must mean it’s farewell.

Oh come on now. Really?

First of all, I’ve seen a lot of tours like this. As in, most, if not all of them. The band always adds dates here and there, at least for as long as I’ve been actively paying attention. They do first, second…sometimes third and even fourth “legs”, and Duran Duran is FAR from the only band in the universe to do this. As John Taylor said recently in an interview, sometimes dates (like the South American shows) come up, and they have to get their whole group together, and so it just makes sense to add in a few more shows to make the trips worthwhile. I’m not going to find fault with that kind of sanity.

Second, if we’re talking about the fact that they haven’t gone many other places aside from the UK, Italy, the US and now South America – again I have to say it’s about money. Like it or not, the band has bills to pay, and they only go where they’re being paid to go. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the cost involved with doing a world tour – a real world tour – are staggering. They can’t just fly to Australia and do one show, and they can’t do more than that if promoters and bookers aren’t getting them shows. It’s that simple, whether we want to believe it or not. Sometimes, I think Duran fans look for conspiracies that just do not exist.

Lastly, even if this is their final farewell, does it really change anything? Does it change how YOU are touring? What shows YOU are attending? For me personally, I’m going to what I can. Even if I knew it was the final countdown, I couldn’t possibly do more shows right now, even if I wanted. I mean, what more could I really want though?

I’m not the type of person that is going to sit and wait for them outside of their hotel, or at an airport. I love them, but I also feel awkward doing that stuff. I know a lot of others do, and that’s great. It’s not my thing. There is only one time I’ve asked one of them to sign something for me, and in all honesty it was Dom, it wasn’t Simon, or Roger, or anyone like that. I’m just not that kind of fan, not that I think those people are wrong or weird or anything like that – it’s just that for me, I don’t want or need much signed. I’ve been to the UK. I’ve seen Birmingham – out of everything I’ve ever done in the name of “fandom”, that was the one thing I really wanted and it lived up to every last possible expectation and then some. Truth be told, I would really like to go back to the UK again. Very much so. I don’t know if I will have a chance to take that trip though, just because of timing and family expenses (again, college is NOT CHEAP).  I’ve taken long road trips with Amanda, I’ve had some wonderful experiences at shows, and I have made a lot of friends along the way. I just don’t know if there’s much else I could reasonably want, except more.

So while the idea of “farewell” bothers me, I can’t go on worrying about it looming overhead. A bit of advice my dad gave me before he died was that I needed to not worry so much about the dying. I’d call him at least a few times a week towards the end, and I’d always ask how he was feeling. It was natural, and I meant it in the most loving way possible – he was my dad and I was worried. Dad got tired of talking about how he was feeling though, because let’s face it – he already knew he was dying. It was no secret. He didn’t want to focus on the end, he just wanted to enjoy the living. So, he told me that the end was going to be just that, the end, and that none of us had much control over when that was going to be, or how that was going to transpire. What he and I could do though, was to enjoy the time we had. So I am, and I will. It was still a shock when the end arrived, and I still went through all of the same stages of grief as anyone might. But, I’m kind of glad my dad gave me that little pep talk though, because it’s come in handy more than once in the almost nine years he’s been gone. That’s my dad – watching out for me up until the very end!

Of course I’ll be wistful and sad when they stop touring. I have friends that I don’t know if I’ll see again when that time comes, even if I don’t think now is that time. I can’t imagine not seeing the band, or Dom, or even some of the roadies again. We fans have known them so long we can’t imagine not having them around and yet they really don’t know us at all. There’s really only one person in or around the band that truly knows me or my name, and I don’t even question whether or not he’ll know me in a crowd. It’s kind of like going to family reunions every time they tour or do a show, and I’ll miss those.

I think that’s really just it. Family. Somewhere along the line, this band and all of the fans that go along with them, have become a family, whether we like it or not! Some I might see as crazy uncles (there’s always one!), and others are probably related only by marriage and we don’t really know how they fit in, but they’re part of the group. I can’t imagine that feeling of family just ending, can you?

I don’t know what the band has coming next. I know that they’re coming back to California in July. I have heard rumblings of other possibilities, courtesy of the monthly Katy Kafes. I don’t think this band is quite done yet, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to enjoy seeing pictures, chatting with friends, and planning for the shows I will see in July. I am going to work on a couple of projects I have going on here at home – including a high school graduation for my son, and I’m going to be reveling in the joy I have bubbling within for getting him to this point. I’m going to savor each moment as it comes, and live in gratitude for each day I’m given, and so should you.

-R

Totally 80’s with Rio!

I was thoroughly spoiled on Friday night, as I stood less than 30 feet away from Simon Le Bon as he sang Is There Something I Should Know AND Late Bar in a single set in a small, intimate bar in Fullerton, California. Of course, John, Roger, Andy and Nick were there too, and Duran Duran was on fire…playing everything from Sound of Thunder to Notorious, deep cuts to big hits. Duranies lined the stage, and while I only saw one pair of panties thrown…it was a good night.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t really Simon. Or John, Roger, Andy and Nick for that matter. Particularly given the fact that they were in Argentina that night, and oh yes – Andy is no longer with the band – I kind of knew it was going to be tough to sell anyone on that story.  So who was the band and where was I? The band was of course Rio: the Duran Duran tribute band, and the venue was the Totally 80’s Bar and Grille.

Here’s the thing – as far as bars go, the Totally 80’s Bar is every 80s cliché wrapped up into one building. Neon, black lights, TV monitors on the wall playing completely different videos from the music pouring out of the speaker, even the same really gross, dank, but not entirely off putting, “ick” oozing from its walls. As I stood at the bar, nursing one of the worst vodka tonics I’ve ever had, I watched a guy dancing and spinning alone in the corner of the dance floor. I almost had to pinch myself, because I’d swear I saw that same dude thirty years ago at Fashions on the Redondo Beach pier.  Yeah, for me, Totally 80’s was nearly like stepping back in time….and falling flat on my face in a sea of neon paint with Apollonia 6 serenading me like carnival music in a fun house.  In a word: weird.  Fun, but weird.

I think that in order to appreciate the sights and sounds, you must have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Some do, as they come dressed proudly in 80s garb with a side ponytail and enough neon lighting bolts to power their own homes. Others, like me, are little more apprehensive and less likely to fully embrace 1980-something coming back to life. We come to see bands we think we know play music we rarely get to hear live.

As showtime neared, I was once again flabbergast to see Duranies – and yes, you can tell they’re Duranies because some even wear their Paper Gods touring t-shirts, which is both appropriate and cute in this setting – grabbing the front and center spots. They were ready to do battle if necessary to defend their territory from the few women (oh yes, even here) that feel they should always be awarded a spot directly in front of the singer, even if they drunkenly arrive mid-set. Truthfully, I can’t find fault with the Duranies in front, even if I chose not to join them in favor or standing back to watch the scene unfold. The die-hard in me screamed to go to the front, while the more reasonable side constantly reminded me that this was not really Duran Duran. The dance floor filled nicely for Rio, and once the band took the stage, even people from the back of the bar came to check the band out.

I hadn’t seen Rio perform live for about a year, and it might have been longer than that, now that I think about it. I can’t always make it to their shows (this is a tribute band that plays regularly so that Duranies can always get their fix, should the need arise!), but I go when I can.  Since my last trip to 1985 (with Rio, of course), they’ve had a personnel change. Not to be confused with the real Duran Duran (although they will tell you that they are in fact the real Duran Duran), in this case it is their keyboardist who has recently changed. Not sure if the sub “Nick” will stick around, but he was good.

I know a lot of people wince at the idea of a tribute band. I was one of those, once. Two things make Rio different: 1. They take the music seriously, even though sure – the “act” is a schtick of sorts. They’re not making fun of Duran Duran, they’re emulating them as they tell the crowd that we’ve all been taken back to 1985 in a time machine and that it’s going to be a party. These guys are fans – and I know this because I’ve hung out with them after Duran Duran shows! In turn, they make their own show fun, and do the music all kinds of justice. I’m picky about my Is There Something I Should Know, and they play it true to form….every time. EVERY TIME.  2. They don’t just play the hits. They also play the deep cuts only Duranies know. That’s the one thing I have to say, even when they’re playing Late Bar, everyone is dancing on that floor. I wish Duran Duran (the real band) could see it, because it’s a sight to behold. John Taylor may say that only die-hard fans in the first row or two know the song at his shows – but at these shows? Everybody knows it, or it’s so damn good they dance anyway.

So while Duran Duran may never play Late Bar or Sound of Thunder, Rio does…and they do it brilliantly. If you haven’t had a chance to see them, you should make the time. I’ll even save you space on the dance floor.

-R

Still Screaming “Like a Girl”, Thirty-two Years Later

Without knowing it at the time yesterday, my blog was timely!  In 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released, and on today’s date in 1985, Some Like it Hot peaked at #14 in the UK.  I wrote about both Arcadia and Power Station, describing how for me – I like both.

Since Arcadia never toured, I didn’t have the opportunity to ever see them live. On the other hand, Power Station was my very first concert. I was fourteen and went with my cousins, who were much older.  We sat in loge seats on what would now be called “John’s side” at Irvine Meadows. (My first and last shows at Irvine Meadows —which has been torn down since Duran appeared just this past August—had John Taylor on stage, which I realize no one else cares about, but I think it’s cute – particularly since I didn’t even think about it at the time!) I sat in my chair (yes, sat. My cousins were too cool to stand I guess?) and wondered what it would be like in the front.

I wondered about the front for a long, long time…apparently!

Anyway, I’d love to tell tales about how fantastic the show was or how I was so bowled over. I don’t remember much. I do remember the band coming on stage and being annoyed that Robert Palmer wasn’t with them.  I also remember screaming at John Taylor until my oldest male cousin told us to stop “screaming like girls”…whatever that meant. We were girls. We screamed. And??

I also remember walking the ridiculously long way back to our car that night and seeing limos pull out away from the venue with girls chasing them.  I don’t even know if that was really the band in there. Back in that day, I think they were still using decoy limos at times. I can remember wondering about that as we walked. Again, that same older male cousin telling me that “…only groupies follow the band, Rhonda.”  I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, only that being called a ‘groupie’ must be a bad thing, and to my cousin, most girls were groupies.

Live and learn, I guess.

Regardless of my poor memory, 1985 does not seem so long ago…until I start really thinking about it, and then I realize I don’t remember a lot from that time. Only then do I recognize it was thirty-two years ago, and that seems painful.

Am I really that old?

Nope!!!  I just came back from seeing Duran Duran last week and screamed “like a girl” for my favorite.  Not only am I young, I’m pretty damn proud to say I’m still screaming, whether for Power Station or Duran Duran.

-R