Tag Archives: Kennedy Space Center

July 2019 Katy Kafe with Simon!

(Yes, I know it’s August 6th. Bear with me.)

You know it’s bad when you distinctly remember seeing mention of a Kafe, even going so far as to comment on how you’re looking forward to hearing it….and then promptly forget about the entire thing. Welcome to my life.

Better late than never, I listened to the Kafe this morning, took detailed notes, and am ready to deliver the State of the Duraniverse for this month. Or last month. Whatever. Just remember that I make no assertion that my notes are complete – and the only way you’ll hear the entire thing for yourself is with a DDM membership!

Kennedy Space Center Show

Katy caught up with Simon on July 30th. He was presumably back at home in England after the excitement from the Kennedy Space Center show a couple of weeks earlier. They spoke a little about the show, beginning with Studio Drift and their drone installation for the concert. Simon explained that the drones were meant to look like starling murmurations (the way they gather and seem to suspend in midair). I’ve posted some videos of their performance during The Universe Alone – if you haven’t checked them out yet, you really should. Trust me, the video will send goosebumps up and down your arms, it is that good. Here’s some of just the beginning to give you an idea:

I wish this were the entire song…but even a minute of it gave me chills!

Simon also talked a little about the setlist, saying that they did a full “space” section including “The Universe Alone”, “Planet Earth”, “New Moon on Monday”, “Reach Up for the Sunrise”, “Astronaut” and a cover of The Police’s “Walking on the Moon”. He said that for himself, “Astronaut” was a high point because it hasn’t been played very often during the last few years, suggesting that it was due to it’s difficulty. (I’m just going to say that for a song that is tough to play, I think they do an outstanding job). He mentioned that while he didn’t think they’d play “Walking on the Moon” again, maybe…just maybe…”Astronaut” might find its way back into a set list. I hope so!

Another interesting, but not at all surprising, comment on the KSC performance was that Nick took the time to come up with the master plan for that evening. His nickname is The Controller, you know….

September shows, and mini tours

While Simon didn’t say much about the upcoming shows in September, he did say that these mini tours are very important to Duran Duran because it has been decided that they should never go more than three months without a live show – simply because (and I’m having to surmise this a little based on the conversation) John, Simon & Roger get out of practice with the physicality. If they don’t play live, I think it is probably difficult to maintain the stamina necessary to play a full set. Not that Nick doesn’t “glisten” back there on keyboards, but I think compared to John, Simon and Roger, he doesn’t have to move as much. Regardless, I’m going to applaud their commitment to live shows!

The New Album

With that in mind, according to Katy, after September they don’t have anything booked. Will they go back into the studio? Katy does her best to lead Simon into this line of questioning, and I have to say that the studio work MUST be going well because Simon doesn’t struggle before answering that it’s going really well. He says the new album is going great and that he needs to start “knuckling down” and coming up with some lyrics. He plans to get together with Erol Alkan to work.

Simon describes the new album as “quite a departure”, using the word “Experimental”. What I dearly appreciate most from Simon here though, is that he explains this by saying that for him – Rio was a mainstream album. The first album; however, was more experimental. Katy follows up by asking him to compare Astronaut and Paper Gods in the same terms, and Simon says that Paper Gods is far more experimental – but is quick to also say that this new album is a “completely different vibe”.

I don’t know about the rest of you reading – but I’m excited!! I can hardly wait to hear what they’ve been working on. From everything that Nick has said, along with what Simon has now mentioned, it sounds fantastic! As I said last month, I’m still finding it hard to believe they’re already at a point where they can talk about this album as though it is a tangible thing as opposed to more of a vague, undefined few things they’ve kicked around. It’s been four years as of September since Paper Gods has been released, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t felt like it’s been that long.

Perhaps a drink suggestion for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?

Katy ended the Kafe by asking Simon if he had a cocktail suggestion to share. Last year, Simon went into extraordinary detail, describing a cocktail that we should all try in order to properly capture the last few days of summer. I find myself in similar territory (as always) this year…so I was happy to get another suggestion that I plan to put into full use on Saturday!

Pimms No. 1 Cup

**as an aside: Simon couldn’t remember in the Kafe if it was called a No. 1 or a No. 2 cup. I looked it up, and it is a No. 1. Pimms made seven different products, all “fruit cups” differing in their base alcohol. The No. 1 cup is the most popular and is based on Gin. No. 2 was whisky, the original No. 3 was brandy (although now there’s a winter cup infused with orange peel and spices that is available seasonally), No. 4 was Rum, No. 5 was rye whisky, and No. 6 is vodka. Only 1, 3 (as the Winter Cup), and 6 are currently made.

Pour a “decent measure” of this over ice, top with ginger ale, along with a slice of lemon, mint, perhaps some orange, and a maraschino cherry.

Expect this as one of the drink suggestions for Duran Duran Appreciation Day. I mean….it’d be rude not to, right??

-R

Kennedy Space Center PRomotion

I am not heading to Florida this week. There is a part of me that really wishes that I would be. I recognize, though, that I cannot do everything and be everywhere. Yet, I do have Vegas coming up and a family vacation in a few weeks. That said, I am completely excited for those who are going and feeling nothing but pride for the band to be given the honor to play at the Kennedy Space Center for Apollo’s 50th Anniversary. On top of all of that, I love all the publicity that Duran has been getting. Let’s share some of what I have seen and heard, shall we? (I’m not sharing the CNN interview because Rhonda had a blog about that one last week.)

I think what I have been most excited to see are the videos about the individual band member’s memories about the moon landing. As someone who was not on the planet then, I love hearing other people share stories about historical events that they witnessed. My parents, for example, told me that they were at my uncle and aunt’s house that day to play cards but that they all stopped when the news came through. So, what did Roger, Nick, John and Simon share? Let’s see!

I love that Roger mentions about how he already knew that he was going to be a musician but the idea of an astronaut couldn’t help but come into his consciousness then. I bet that a lot of kids started to think about this as a career choice after seeing this footage and the hero’s welcome the astronauts received.

It is interesting to me that John mentioned how school felt like it was in slow motion that day. I can remember later space flights in which my teachers in elementary school put on the radio for us to listen to the lift-off. Of course, I also can distinctly recall sitting in my classroom in 1986 when the Challenger exploded with what probably was the exact opposite feeling to the one in 1969.

Nick’s story about keeping the Sunday Times Magazine about this historical event reminds me of a quote that I have in my classroom. It says something about how you never know that you are living in history while it is happening. On that day of the moon landing, I’m pretty certain that the whole world knew that history was happening. Nick clearly did.

I love the fact that Roger’s parents woke him up to see the moon landing. Those are parents that I can appreciate!

Leave it to Simon to get philosophical at the end. I agree with him, though, it must be hard to have one’s life to be defined by one event. It could be magical but also limiting.

Besides these video clips, the band has been busy promoting the event through talking to various media. Tomorrow, for example, Simon will be on Sirius XM Volume in the morning to talk about it. He was also on iHeart radio with Martha Quinn this weekend, which you can hear here! While Martha tried to get setlist intel out of him, he instead focused on the drones that will be up in the air during their set.

Did I miss any other press? If so, let me know and I would be happy to edit this post to include it. Excited to cheer Duran from a distance this week while I listen to all the space related songs of theirs.

-A

“Hold Back the Rain” for Astronauts in 2001!

Most Duranies seem to recognize a space theme within Duran Duran. Songs like “Planet Earth”, albums like “Astronaut”, and the alien manning synthesizers back on the risers, all support the idea. But did you know that Duran Duran even helped NASA once?

During the summer of 2001, the Space Shuttle Atlantis was due to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. At the time, they were still assembling the space station, and so there were many of these missions taking place. In fact, there were 3 spacewalks on this particular mission.

The shuttle was due back on July 24, but Mission Control was concerned about the landing due to poor weather. Yet, they really needed to get the shuttle back on the ground.  So, who and what did they turn to in their time of need??

Duran Duran and “Hold Back the Rain”, of course! They played this song for the shuttle crew, motivating them for a safe landing in bad weather. The shuttle made it back on the ground without a hitch, and this mission became another part of history, so they say.

Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a NASA clip of it being played for the astronauts on YouTube, but I do have the 2017 performance from the Fox Theater in Oakland. I was in the audience that night, and nearly lost my mind. It was a thrill to have it included in their set that night.

The power of Duran Duran. Even NASA gets it!

-R