Tag Archives: Las Vegas

November 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Not much makes me happier during a lull than an invitation to listen to a shiny brand new Katy Kafe pop up in my news feed! This month, John takes a quick time out to chat with Katy, and I’ve got the highlights from the November 2017 Katy Kafe for you. Keep in mind, this is purely what I picked out, and with DD40 coming up – it might be time to get a membership to DDM so that you can stay up with all of the news that is sure to come!

What’s happening?

John comes to us from “the studio” in London, where he is working with Nick on a side project. Now whether this side project is the musical they’ve mentioned before, or something else, I’m not sure. John just says “it’s very different from what they’ve done in Duran Duran”…and I guess we’ll have to wait to hear more about it.

He mentions that they are going to be in Moscow (which they were earlier in the week) for the BRAVO award announcements where the band got back together and performed.

Ring in the New Year, Vegas-style

Katy also mentioned the upcoming Eve before New Years Eve show in Las Vegas, and asked John if he likes performing on New Years Eve. Emphatically, John answers with a quick, “YES” saying that he likes not having to worry about what he is going to do to entertain himself that night, and then almost just as quickly he adds a hasty, “but this is not on New Years Eve, it is the 30th, which means New Years Eve is still a problem that will have to be worked out.” Katy asks the question I was wondering myself, and that was whether or not John would stay in Vegas for New Years, to which he said he doesn’t know yet.

Apparently, Duran Duran has played on New Years Eve quite a bit over the years, citing the Savoy show in ’82 or ’83, and then the shows they did just outside of Washington DC last year in National Harbor. The band likes being on stage for New Years, and well….we really kind of like having them there, too!

There was a quick mention of whether this was really a final, final, Paper Gods date and John corrects Katy, saying that no, Paper Gods is finished. This is a standalone date. That leads to the obvious (Well, it’s obvious to me, anyway) follow-up about the set list. Will it change? John contends that they have to “err on the side of crowd favorites”. So, if you went to any of the Paper Gods shows and enjoyed hearing songs like Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film, and any of the rest of those hits that have been in previous set lists, there is good news: you’re gonna love this one too! He does say that it might be less interesting for diehard fans – and while I can’t disagree, I can say this: most of us already know this, and guess what? WE BUY TICKETS ANYWAY.  Why? Because it is exactly the type of party we all want to be at, and the party is what we make it!

Just imagine what we’d do when/if one of them came out and said it would be a show that no diehard should miss?!?

I shudder to consider the stampede…or how Ticketmaster might “handle” the demand.  Moving on…

What about 2018?

Here is what I find most interesting about this band: every single band member has a different story about the studio, and it’s comical! Since August, I have heard they’re going into the studio at the end of the year for something “fun” from Roger, something about going in after the new year from Simon, and now John says they’re “hoping” to go back in…with no real time specified.

So I don’t think anyone really knows. And that’s fine. Odd, but fine.

John does say that an album next year is unlikely. Given my experience as a fan of this band, I’d go one farther and say it’s nearly impossible. I’d be shocked, probably to the point of needing oxygen, if the band actually came out with even ONE SONG this year, much less an entire album.

In the meantime, John says they’re talking about the possibilities for recording a new album, including who they might be looking to collaborate with, or where they will record – insinuating that perhaps London might not be the birthplace for the next one.

This led to a question from Katy who asked if the band were to stumble upon that perfect song right away, would they release a stand-alone single or just wait for the album. Speaking purely for himself, John said maybe – citing that the marketing isn’t very good for one song. You don’t get TV or magazines for a single song, typically, so the promotion isn’t quite there. He surmises that they just have to be open to whatever happens.

Paper Gods

Looking back over Paper Gods, Katy wants to know if there are any songs that John wishes they had played. He mentions two that he wishes they had played more: “Universe Alone”, which they played towards the very end of the tour (and I have often wondered why they waited so long), and “You Kill Me with Silence”, which they only played once, at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Los Angeles.  He says that it is hard to find a spot for mid tempo songs in the live show because you only want 2 or 3 of them.  I get that, although I think YKMWS was overall a difficult song for Simon because of the wide vocal range it requires.

John says that he still feels the album was the best since their reunion, but quickly says that he knows they always say that. (and they do, but I get it. Besides, if you didn’t think you were improving as a band, wouldn’t you have quit by now?? Funny how clearly it all makes sense now as opposed when I first asked about why they say that!)

I know there are fans out there that completely disagree, and some that herald Paper Gods as being the best the band has ever done. There is no accounting for personal taste, I suppose. John adds that he doesn’t want to put down the others, citing both AYNIN and of course, RCM. I’ll just say that we all have our favorites, and from the outside looking in, I think the band learned a lot from Paper Gods. They grew professionally, and perhaps personally. That’s not a bad thing after thirty-five years in the industry. John ends by saying that while the album “took some doing”, they’re all “quite proud” of something that is definitely a “Duran Duran album”.  A thought that is neither stupid, nor self-indulging. John is right when he says it ticks off all of the boxes of what one would expect from Duran Duran, whether it is your favorite album or a little less-than. It’s quintessentially Duran, and we like that!

Simple, short and sweet – John bids his farewell until the year-end Kafe, which we are rapidly approaching. Does not seem possible!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

The First World Problem of Front Row

So the pre-sale for Vegas is tomorrow. Amanda and I, along with our touring buddies, have a plan. The general plan is simple: get tickets.

Let’s be honest here, shall we? I mean, I’ve already admitted I’m an addict—so really, there’s no holding back now. Why bother? I’d love front row. Who wouldn’t? There isn’t much that is more intoxicating than being in front of the band and having them lock eyes with you. Unless of course you’re a straight guy, of course. Somehow, I don’t think it’s the same for them in that respect and hey, that’s cool. But truly, to be there, in the moment, with that electricity swirling about in spitting distance from the stage (yes, I said that), is something special.

Is it worth $500 or more, though?

(I winced as I typed that, just so you know.)

Here’s the thing – I know that some people will pay $500 or even more and not even blink. I have actually come close to paying it myself. Sometimes though, I have to wonder if I’m being stupid about the entire thing. It’s a lot of money. a LOT. Is it better to do one or two shows and have awesome seats, or is it better to do ten shows and sit back about ten rows? It’s the question I tangle with each and every time concerts are announced. Fifteen years ago, I would have bought ONE VIP ticket for the entire tour. The rest of the time, I would have sat wherever I could get tickets, and that likely meant back in the second or third sections away from the stage. Having seats in the 13th row would have been amazing!! But then in 2012, something miraculous happened. I ended up in the front row at a show. The first time, I was so in awe, I stood there, frozen to the rail. The second time, I let myself go completely and it was the best concert experience I’d ever had, until the next time it happened…and the next.

I’ve been in second and third row, too. The feeling is incredible. And addicting. Obviously. But its expensive. Not as cost prohibitive as the front, but the sticker shock is still painful. As much as I appreciate the intensity of the fan experience from front row,  there is a small part of my brain whispering furiously at me that I should have NEVER sat in that front row (or even second or third row) to begin with, because now that I’ve been up there, nothing else lives up!

#firstworldproblems , right? I know. I’m lucky to have even had the chance, don’t get me wrong. Some people in the world have no clean drinking water, and I’m here writing about feeling like I’ve got to have front row. It’s freaking annoying of me, and how dare I have the audacity to address such a trivial thing. Yep, all of that is 100% truth.

Guess what? Right now, you’re reading a daily blog about being a fan. I’m writing it, but you, my friend, are reading it. Welcome. Try the Kool-Aid, it’s great!

So the struggle is real for us, the Duran Duran addicts. I’m assuming there might be a few more than just me out there in the world, circling about. I don’t actually know what will happen tomorrow (isn’t there a song about that??), but I do know that I’ve already got a hotel room booked, and other plans made. Even if I were to end up with zero tickets in my cart – which is always a possibility – I’m still going to Vegas that weekend. I’ll be the seat warmer at the bar, and that might actually be more expensive for me than going to the show in the long run! (Actually, that’s the excuse I’m gonna use when my husband asks about the price of my tickets!!)

-R

 

 

 

 

 

My Name is Rhonda, and I am an addict.

 

My name is Rhonda, and I am an addict.

On Tuesday I ran across a rumor. You may have heard or seen it yourself, although I didn’t see many people talking about it. Apparently word was out that Duran had plans to play at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on December 30th. Like many of you, I rolled my eyes. Sure they were coming all the way back here again this year, I thought. Definitely. Just as soon as they send me a personal invite.

I put down my phone and began my typical morning tasks: coffee, feeding my zoo, and getting myself to work in a timely manner. I begin thinking about this rumor more and more as I finish greeting students at our gate in the morning and walk back to my “office”(which is actually a library and I sit at a folding table…which is the OPPOSITE of glamorous).

They couldn’t possibly come back again, right? Even IF they are, there’s no way I’m going. After all, its New Years. I can’t see them playing one show. One show? That’s dumb! It’s so much hassle to bring equipment here… Nah, I can’t see it. And even IF this is true, there’s no way I’m mentioning this to Walt. He’s at his wit’s end with this stupid band as it is. 

I get on to attendance, clearing out old files, and setting up new students in my system. It is kind of slow day, the first I’ve really had this school year, which is weird.  I decide to send Amanda a text, because yes – I am an addict.

I hesitate to use the words “Duranie Alert” in my text because A. it’s just a rumor, no matter how solid my friend thinks it is,  and B. that’s like pulling the fire alarm when there’s not really a fire. It seems funny to watch everyone scramble at the time, but in the end, somebody is sitting in the principal’s office and the next time you really NEED to sound the alarm, maybe no one will respond. So, I just tell her what I know. I suspect she takes extra long to answer because she’s laughing at the very thought of this show seriously happening, (not at all because she’s actually trying to do her job or something, right??)  I know better than to think she’d actually believe such a thing. I mean, it’s ridiculous, right?

She sends back a text, saying that if it’s true, we should go.

Go? What do you mean, GO? It’s the freaking holidays, Amanda! Have you lost your mind?!? There’s no way. 

Then I think back to last November. She made plans to go to Maryland without me. It was painful, but there was no changing my husband’s mind or the lack of cash in my bank account then. This year isn’t a ton different, but if they were playing in Vegas, I might be able to just drive. I mean, it’s only four hours. What’s four hours? Nothing, when you’re an addict.

No. There’s no way. We’re paying for both kids to go to school. Money is always tight around the holidays. Besides, we don’t even know if they’re really playing!! 

So I do what any normal person might. I break the news to my husband over dinner. Poor guy is in the middle of chewing when I casually mention the ridiculous rumor of Duran Duran playing on the 30th, and quickly follow the comment with “But of course I’m not going to go. I mean, that’d be crazy. I have a husband. It’s the holidays. We spend New Year’s Eve together every year…even if we don’t go anywhere or do anything and it’s really boring…..” I trail off, waiting for a declaration of war, or stony silence, which in our house, is basically the same thing.

“Would you want to go spend that time with your friends and I could just figure on doing something else?”

I pinched myself under the table to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, but he was serious. I laugh it all off, because this has to be some sort of trick question. If I say “Yes”, I’m the world’s worst spouse (probably already true). If I say “No”, then I’m stuck at home for sure. I’m also half-wondering why he’s so eager to let me go and what it means by ” doing something else”, but I let that go. 

I answer by not answering. “Let’s wait and see if this is really even a thing. It’s probably not even happening.” I roll my eyes and laugh, probably a little too nervously, and a little too heartily now that I think about it. He looks down his glasses at me, which DRIVES ME NUTS. I try not to grimace, and smile back at him.

The next morning, which is Wednesday, I get up and am greeted by a text from Amanda.

I checked hotels last night—I should not have,  but they weren’t too bad.

The plane ticket will be expensive but I won’t worry about that.

Wait, we’re at plane tickets already? We don’t even know if this show is happening!!

I answer back saying something about checking hotel prices and how that’s going to be a fortune, and mention that I’m seeing other cryptic messages from Duranies. We agree to keep a look out, and we both get back to work.  I send out a random tweet. Why? Because I’m an addict.

“TMW you start planning in advance for the thing you said you weren’t going to do yesterday.”

People “like” the tweet, which makes me smile.

I assume these people don’t realize that I’m an addict. Then again, maybe they know.  It’s fine, I know I am, too. I’ve got it perfectly under control. Totally. 

Amanda and I text throughout the day because the more I’m seeing, the more convinced I am that something is happening. That same friend who broke the news has now called The Cosmopolitan and is told that they don’t book corporate shows during that week.  Also during the day, I’ve taken the time to contact our two travel buddies and shared the rumor about the show we have no idea will happen.

One of our friends lives in Vegas and is very skeptical this show is a “thing”. Even so, she’s going to check in with some friends she knows and see if they’ve heard anything. While all of this is going on, Amanda and I have texted back and forth hundreds, if not thousands of times. Oddly, very little cursing was done. Most of it was me explaining why I simply cannot go, and then proceeding to make plans to attend. All the while Amanda is saying that she’ll believe the rumor when she sees it from DDHQ. Then we make plans on when we’ll arrive and where we’ll stay, and whether or not we think our friends are going to join us and split the cost of the room.  We divide up our in-room alcohol Costco-run, and talk about to-go cups and lids that fit. Why?  Because that’s how we roll, my friends.

Fast forward to 6:32 pm my time on Thursday night. I am sitting in a parent meeting for my daughter’s choir group. They’re planning a VERY EXPENSIVE trip to San Francisco, and we parents are being given the budget. I am sitting, furiously punching numbers into my phone calculator app, hoping to make sense of how I’m going to pay for this crazy trip. My phone rings. Loudly. It’s Amanda…and what is her ringtone?

Oh you BET it’s Planet Earth. She almost never calls, and certainly not at 6:32 pm my time. I have to decline the call, because, well…parent meeting. I know exactly why she’s calling, because my friends, I am a Duranie. I silently shake my head slowly, and try to concentrate on instructions for how to register my child for this trip. My mind, however, is wandering in the direction of the UK. My phone buzzes. It’s Amanda, texting me. I take a deep breath, knowing exactly what she’s going to say.

It is official. That show is happening.

It has been awhile since I could send an official Duranie alert. 

At first, I close my eyes and think of all the things I’d like to say to the band if they were in front of me. Some of those things are not nice, and I admit that. I love them, I hate their planning. I love that they come here, I hate that I’m funding their retirement. I love their music, I hate that I’m addicted to their live show. Well, maybe not “hate”. Strongly dislike?  Disapprove? No… I hate that their shows cost me money. That’s it!  I open my eyes, and see that yes, the meeting is still going on. Am I actually absorbing ANY of this?? Probably not. 

I put my head down and write back, because now my mind has already boarded a plane headed for England (never mind that this is a Vegas show).

I am sitting in a parent meeting for a trip where I am going to have to spend thousands. Good lord.

Eww.

That isn’t okay. 

So of course that show is happening. 

Yep.

She sends me the email she just got, which was sent to anyone who bought VIP tickets for Las Vegas on the Paper Gods tour. Basically, the email was designed to give those of us who plunked down a wad of cash to see the band before a heads up –  we’re gonna have the opportunity to do it all again.  They don’t mention venue or cost, but the date was right, and it’s happening. I read the email, even though I’m still in that parent meeting. I take a deep cleansing breath and respond to Amanda.

I am going to cry.

Of course I didn’t. But I felt like it. Sometimes, it’s hard to be Duranie. I am weak. My willpower is just, well, it’s non-existent. I’m an addict. But I’ve got it totally under control.

The following day is Friday, and it is our normal Skype conference day. Amanda and I are working on a big project – our paper that we will present in March—and so we chat nearly once a week about real things. Not shows, not gossip, just our work. Well, mostly not anything but our work. Mostly.

By the end of the four-hour Skype session, we’d booked our hotel, checked flights, and even booked an extra day so that Amanda isn’t just flying here for two days. I mean, we can’t have that, right?  We talked about what we want to do while we’re in Vegas, who we hope to see….

All for a show that we do not currently have tickets for.

We also did some work.

On Sunday morning, I checked my email. Sure enough, there’s the email from DDM, letting me know all about the show, the pre-sale on Wednesday, and that I might need to consider selling body parts in order to attend, because yes, I’m an addict.

My friend tweets that he’s hearing tickets will be $250 as a base price. VIP Ultimate Front Row is $300 plus ticket price.  That means front row will be a spendy $550.  If he is right, and I have no reason to assume he’s wrong, that’s more than Hollywood Bowl. VIP Gold – rows 2-8, will cost $150 plus ticket price, so that’s a beautiful $400.

How about blood? At this point, I’m willing to donate perfectly good blood and/or kidneys. Anyone willing to buy a husband? I’ve got one!! I might start selling my jewelry collection on eBay, too.  I mean, why not?  Could I sell some of Walt’s tools…I mean, he hardly uses them. He might not even notice! 

I’m sitting here with a couple of questions in my head. One of which is how I’m going to afford this show. The other though is that if the band and Katy already said that the Paper Gods tour is over, does that mean we’re going to get a different set at this show??

I’m an addict. Who else would write 2046 words about a show announcement? I’ve totally got it under control, though.

-R

On this date in DD History – The Joint in Vegas!

Do you remember 2003?  I sure do. It was the summer of Duran Duran shows, and not just “ordinary” Duran Duran shows…but reunion shows. John, Simon, Roger, Nick and Andy. On stage. Together. For the first time in 20-some years.

Complete insanity.

My summer began that year with a show in Costa Mesa at the Pacific Amphitheater. I can still remember completely losing my mind when all five of them walked on stage together. I pinched myself until I was bruised just to be sure I wasn’t imagining everything I was seeing. It was absolutely, positively, unreal.

I know I wasn’t the only one, and little did I know at the time that it wouldn’t be the ONLY show I’d see with them that year. From then on, I was a woman out of control, or so it felt. I bought tickets to see them at 4th and B in San Diego, and then again in September to see them at Inland Invasion (a festival). I hadn’t seen all five members together on stage EVER, and then suddenly I saw them three times in the same year.

That said, I didn’t try to get tickets to see them in places like, Las Vegas, which looking back, seems like a silly thing to overlook. At the time though, traveling to see the band in another city so “far” away (it’s what, four hours from my house if I drive?) seemed so ridiculous. So “out there”.  Who would do something so frivolous???

I can honestly say that in 2003, I didn’t really know anyone in the Duran Duran fan community. I know I had already started dabbling on the message boards, but it wasn’t until after the summer that I found the message board that eventually became my online home. So, I wasn’t aware that droves of fans from So Cal went out to Vegas to see them that summer. It never even occurred to me.  But on this very date in 2003, a gig happened in Las Vegas at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. Many of you were probably there, and can tell me all about what I missed out on, and that’s OK.

So yeah, my fandom with Duran Duran – or at least the really active part of it – happened later in life. I’ve tried to make up for lost time since, though!

Does anyone remember the show at The Joint?

-R

All You Need is Then: DD in Las Vegas

Just a reminder that we graciously accept reviews from DD shows, as well as blogs on any topic that has to do with Duran Duran. Today Jason Lent shares a different perspective on the recent Las Vegas show. If you’re interested in submitting a blog, please check out our “Guest Blog” page for information. 

For the next two weeks I will be on vacation with family (I’m doing nearly the polar opposite of “touring” by going camping with family in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons), so I have a few guest blogs to take my place. Enjoy!!  -R

By Jason Lent

My nostalgia drenched July wrapped up with Duran Duran at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas. Seven nights earlier, I stood in a parking lot downtown while Howard Jones and OMD performed on what felt like the surface of the sun. After Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Thompson Twins were pivotal touchstones in my formative years of music while OMD were always on the edges of my life soundtrack. All three provided different reminders of why I love the synth pop sounds of the 1980s.  I still find myself expecting more from Duran Duran overall because they were “my” band as an impressionable 11-year-old. As I walked to my car that night in a mad dash to escape a parking garage built by Satan himself, I realized that no matter what the band does now, all I ever needed from them was already given to me back then.

Touring in support of Paper Gods, I went into last night’s show having already seen the earliest incarnation of this tour in 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. Selfishly hoping for some radical updates to the set list (this was, after all, the second Vegas show in under a year), I knew that such dreams were foolish. At this point, the band has firmly entrenched itself into the legacy circuit where delivering the most appeal to the largest amount of people is job number one. With that as the goal, this current tour might be as effective as any they’ve undertaken in the last twenty years.  That night in Las Vegas, the cheers of the arena were literally deafening and I awoke the following morning with a ringing in my ears that I’d have expected if I stood in front of the PA at a Five Finger Death Punch concert (on a side note, very cool that Chris Kael from Death Punch was at the Duran show last night!).

From the viewpoint of a casual fan, there is no denying the overall power of the current show. After the artsy run through of the new album’s title track, the hits come fast and furious. Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf, and A View To A Kill lifted the crowd to their feet and had them screaming along. The band appeared to be thrilled by the reception and Simon LeBon stepped into the role of the saucy frontman, a role he was born to play. Come Undone, the finest single of their second career peak, sounded and looked brilliant, providing one of the many highlights.

For the more ardent Duranie, the disappointment with the current show resides in the lack of hope that each show provides. Maybe this always existed with Duran Duran but age and technology now infringe on the innocent hope we carried to shows as teenagers. There is no mystery to which songs might be played and the stage banter feels a little too comfortable as a result. The show is the show and the band delivers it night after night at a very high level. However, most of us know exactly when LeBon is about to ask the audience if anybody is hungry. This lack of spontaneity and a refusal to push themselves outside their comfort zone takes a little sparkle off the modern Duran Duran.

For those of us who lived and died with each album (and Liberty sometimes felt like it wanted to kill me), the current tour does offer a few moments of ecstasy such as a killer performance of I Don’t Want Your Love from Big Thing and a reworked take on Girls On Film that feels funky and fresh. Both of these choices do nothing to hamper the casual fan’s appreciation of the show while giving us more fanatical sorts the hope for more twists and turns in the future. The clock is forever ticking when a band sticks around for over three decades but Duran Duran has some gas left in the tank and the next tour could be truly special if they are willing to take a few more chances.

First and foremost in my mind would be to bring 25-30 songs on the tour and arrange each set list slightly differently from town to town. In doing so, the band would have to stay on their toes musically from night-to-night. Why does that matter? It brings out the best in musicians. What if Notorious and Pressure Off weren’t always side by side for example. The songs are too similar sitting next to each other. If Notorious dropped down into the encore, it’s not like Nile Rodgers isn’t going to come back on stage. From what I’ve seen, he’ll take any chance to get in front of the audience especially if he gets to remind us of all the #1 hits he worked on. God bless the man, but we know you’re a legend. Stop telling us each night.

If the band brought 30 songs on the road, those extra tracks could open up a whole new world to long time fans. It starts with the new material. Last Night In the City should be dropped. It’s a boring EDM track that feels like the band trying to appeal to the very people who aren’t buying concert tickets regardless. Sunset Garage, a far better track, with a video montage of the band over the years could be a show highlight. The fatal flaw with Paper Gods was the decision to put the most Duran sounding songs into the “bonus tracks” of different versions of the release. Ask a hundred Duran fans and we would choose Planet Roaring over Danceophobia almost 100% of the time.

In addition to a better mix of the new tracks, the band’s depth gets grossly overlooked in the current tour which can be fixed fairly easily. All You Need Is Now from 2010 was one of their best studio albums since Rio and not a single song makes the current tour. This is more ludicrous than the decision to cover Public Enemy’s 911 Is A Joke. The album that brought them back into arenas gets no attention while the band continues to play Reach Up For the Sunrise, a modest hit but hardly essential listening. To make matters worse, the band taunts us with a chorus from New Moon On Monday in the middle of Sunrise. Here’s an idea, just play Monday, one of the beloved singles from the band’s biggest period.

As a kid, collecting Duran Duran 12” records felt like my life mission. On the flip side of the Careless Memories 12” was a track called Fame. At that age, I didn’t know who David Bowie was and this was my first time hearing an artist whose career and life would greatly influence everything I love in music. If the band had added Fame to the set list for this tour, not only would it have paid tribute to our collective hero, it would have taken us all back to the early stages of fandom when we were full of hope and wonder. I chalk up the medley of Planet Earth and Space Oddity as a near miss but still a lot of fun last night.

So where do we go from here? Next year is the 35th anniversary of Rio and the trend of bands revisiting complete works shows no signs of dissipating. Rather than head back into the studio, I hope Duran Duran embraces their legacy fully and undertakes a summer tour to celebrate a landmark album in all our lives. Open each night with a handful of other hits, take an intermission with a short film of the band in the studio and on video sets over the years, play Rio in its entirety and finish the night with an encore of even more hits. The ticket sales would be monumental and those of us who stayed with them all along would be rewarded with rarely heard songs like Hold Back the Rain.

I look forward to new albums and new tours while continuing to want more of the past each show. Last night was an amazing experience and despite my many words above, I left with a huge smile on my face. The music critic in me will always explore every corner of my Duran Duran fandom but my passion never diminishes. The recent resurgence in interest for their work vindicates many of us who grew up being teased for loving five good-looking lads from England. Take away their youthful smiles, the expensive videos, and all the radio hits and you still have truly gifted musicians with a natural-born entertainer on the mic. Duran Duran forever.

 

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnailJason Lent discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

 

I’m Not Thinking About the Future

I really cannot believe that for Amanda and I, this tour is quickly coming to an end. We waited so long for the time to come, and now those moments are drawing to a close. We do still have one final show to attend in Chula Vista tomorrow, and it has been a fantastic time so far. We’ve had great luck on this tour. Yesterday, Amanda and I took a drive up to Hollywood to see a friend of ours. (Yes Robyn, I count you as a friend now too!) We had lunch, wandered around Amoeba Records for a while, and then met up with a couple of other friends for coffee.

These other friends we met up with were from San Diego and Argentina.  (Shout out to Shelly, her daughter Rachel, Faby and Gerardo!) As we walked to Starbucks in search of a caffeinated afternoon-pick-me-up, I thought about luck.

I’m not one of those people who wins many contests. I don’t typically have the best fortune when it comes to running into band members the way some of you do. In fact, I could be given solid information about where they are at any given time and STILL not find them, which is kind of funny! (if it’s not meant to happen, it’s not happening – right?) I have several friends and acquaintances that just seem to have their life together. I’m sure they’ve worked very hard to land their dream jobs—please don’t read this as though I’m saying otherwise—but I haven’t quite “found” my dream job yet, I guess. I’m still sort of floundering and trying to figure it out. Later in life than most, but I’ve also spent twenty years at home with my kids. I am definitely not one of those people who has just had everything fall into place yet. I keep trying. I would probably say that I’m not necessarily lucky. Hard worker? Yes. Good at buying pre-sale tickets? Probably. (unless Ticketmaster is involved!)  But otherwise? Not quite sure about that.

On the other hand though, I have hit the jackpot and then some when it comes to my friends. I started thinking about all of the people I have met while being active in the fan community for Duran Duran. I know people from all over the world at this point. I have a very small circle of friends that I can count on to bring me up when I’m feeling down, talk me away from the proverbial edge as necessary, and within that small group, a couple of very close friends that push me to keep going when I most need it. Those same two are also not afraid to call me out when it is deserved, and remind me that life doesn’t suck, no matter how hard it seems at times. I don’t think they know how much they matter to me.

My days are pretty mixed up right now, but a couple of nights ago Amanda and I were recording a video blog to “review” (so to speak, anyway) the Las Vegas show. I think we rambled onto the topic of how sad we were going to be when we came to our last show. It was important for us to convey how we’ll feel when it ends, because let’s face it—we’ve ALL heard rumors over the past few years about how this might be the last album, etc.  I think that concern hangs over me at times like this.

First of all, going to see Duran Duran is my break. It is like planning a giant “girls weekend”.  That isn’t to say we couldn’t plan one without them, but there are girls weekends, and then there are girls weekends with Duran Duran.  I think most of you understand the difference. The band adds another dimension, and I don’t want to see that end.

Secondly, there’s the music. I thrive on live music. I love seeing bands play and being consumed by the sound and energy on the stage. I like being up close and seeing the band’s reaction. I love being farther back and hearing the subtle nuances I miss when I’m up front.  I can’t imagine never having that again with Duran Duran. Can you?

Then, there are the meet-ups that Amanda and I plan. Strangely, I haven’t always enjoyed those meet-ups, believe it or not! They push me so far out of my comfort zone of hiding in a corner, I can’t even tell you. When we host parties like that, I have to mingle and be social. For me, there’s a fair amount of anxiety associated with that. I always have that few minutes as we’re sitting there, all set-up and waiting for people to arrive where I wonder if anyone will show.

Thankfully, you people are typically gracious and don’t leave me wondering for long! People begin to wander up and say hello, and I meet lots of new people. I begin to relax. In Las Vegas this past week, we had a huge turnout. I saw people I hadn’t seen in at least five or six years, and there were moments that I really had to swallow a lump in my throat because I was so thrilled to see people. It made my heart so happy, and for those of you who weren’t aware—I really needed some of that happiness.  For me, this pre-show party wasn’t just a meet-up, it was like a family reunion.  I walked away that night having new appreciation for these parties.

When I think that after tomorrow night, I won’t be planning pre-show meet-ups for a while, it makes me sad.  Every time we talk about one party we’ve hosted, someone shoots us a message asking if we’re coming to their city to do another. Believe me when I say that I really wish we could.  The trouble is, these meet-ups aren’t a job for us, and so the cost in organizing, traveling and attending is completely on Amanda and I. So we do what we can.  The idea that we’ve done a few and now they’re over really does hit hard. It’s not just going to the shows that matters—it is rallying the troops, organizing events for fans, and really strengthening the community that matters.  I meant it when I said that our fan community is like a big, dysfunctional family. So our parties and events really are like reunions. I hope we have the opportunity to host more of them before future shows.

How long will it be before I see some of these people again? Now, of course I know that Amanda and I could plan parties without the band touring. In fact, we really are doing a Durandemonium convention in 2017 (Mark your calendars for August 10th – which is a Thursday, through August 13th – a Sunday!!!)  Even so, it’s not the same as a tour. It’s the whole “group therapy” thing—the concerts—that are missing. Sure, we could probably pay the band to play in the same way that people hire them to do private shows…. (How much are y’all willing to pay in ticket prices, because I’m pretty sure that band isn’t cheap! I highly doubt the word “affordable” would characterize a ticket to a convention where they were going to appear, in other words.)

When I stand in the audience tomorrow night and begin to cheer as they come on stage, I’m going to try my best to push thoughts of the future out of my mind. I am going to focus on the hearts beating all around me, and staying in the present for the show. Every single second of the show needs to stay with me until the next opportunity I have to do this all over again. But, during New Moon on Monday, I won’t be surprised if a few tears threaten to escape. I don’t know what it is about that song for me on this tour, but just hearing it reminds me of how much this band and their fans mean to me. I am so lucky.

-R

 

Show Day in Vegas!

Yesterday Rhonda and I drove from Paso Robles to Las Vegas where we experienced a vastly entertaining show despite or because of the strange setting.  Seeing Duran Duran play at a fair was definitely a new experience.  For example, it was quite a sight to see a whole area of cows next to one of the drink stands.  I hope the cows enjoyed the show and thought it was moo-velous!

The drive was long and hot as we drove through the desert to get to Vegas.  We watched the outside temperature climb from a “cool” 81 to a “we are now in an oven” 118 degrees.  The landscape was less than friendly and reminded a friend of ours from the opening scene in Sing Blue Silver when the semi-trucks are driving on a similar stretch of road.

Drive to Vegas

As we entered the city, there were definitely signs that we were in the “right” place as Duran seemed to be everywhere!  On the road, we saw a big billboard advertising the show.  Oh, how, I wish that the trees weren’t in the way!

Vegas billboard

Then, once we entered Mandalay Bay, there were hanging signs, signs by slot machines and more.  I loved seeing all of the advertisements.

IMG_2983

If all of that wasn’t enough, as Rhonda and I sat down to grab some food, what began playing?  That’s right.  Rio!  Yes, kids, we are exactly where we are supposed to be!

Last night, we spent time with my cousin and his wife, which was super fun.  It is pretty funny.  We only live a few hours away from each other and yet we travel to Vegas to hang out!  Being with them makes me laugh as my cousin never understood the Duranie thing when we were kids.  I would always try to convince him about how COOL they were and he just wasn’t buying it!  That said, I do remember him recording As the Lights Go Down for me when it aired on one of the paid cable that my family didn’t get.  So, today, he will attend his very first Duran Duran concert, which entertains me to no end!  Of course, it is disappointing that his first show will be without Nick.  As I told his wife, this means that he will have to go to another show when Nick returns!  She needs to use the situation to her advantage!

Our plan for today is a simple one!  We will do whatever during the day until it is time for our Vegas meet-up!  We are meeting at the Eye Candy lounge located inside Mandalay Bay at 4 pm.  There is lots of room for us to spread out so that we can mingle, chat, etc.  I am looking forward to the meet-up as I will be seeing a few people that I haven’t seen in a LONG time and another person that both Rhonda and I have known for years but have never met in person!  Should be a great time!  For the meet-up, we will be doing a raffle of some Duran items and will have wristbands for sale.  In fact, we have three styles available:  the classic black (like the ones John and Dom have), the new silver (like the one Nile has) and the new glow-in-the-dark purple.  Even if you are unable to get to the meet-up but still want one, just find us at the show.  We will be somewhere in the center section close to the front.

On that note, I better get moving!  It is a show day and there is much fun to be had!

-A

Duran Duran Summer Tour 2016: The Sequel!

I am currently glancing nervously around my house as I sit here composing this blog posting. Later tonight, Amanda arrives, and then we prepare ourselves for the next set of shows we are attending together on our Duran Duran Summer Tour 2016. The final four we’ll do on this leg of the Paper Gods tour. (I stopped just short of saying it’s the last four we’ll do for the entire tour because well, you never know. Maybe.)

At this moment, my house looks like we just moved here. Likely because my oldest just moved out this past weekend and took some of my old furniture with her. This only poses a problem because we now no longer have couches in our formal living area, nor do we have furniture in her old bedroom. I have no time, no money (thanks to Duran Duran! Ha ha!!), and really no plans to figure out what I’m going to do with her old room until I get back from my own vacation at the end of August. But hey, at least there’s more room around here!

If that weren’t enough (and it is really is), I’m also trying to find time to help my mom. As most know, she lost her partner last month to a heart attack. All of us are still adjusting, and the agonizing last few details, such as cleaning out his apartment, need finishing. I will no sooner drop Amanda back off at the airport, and I’ll be packing up our trailer for a huge camping trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. In many ways (as per the usual), I have no business leaving this house to see Duran Duran.

Never mind that for me, I’ve continued to put aside the idea that this might actually be the last bit of travel I do for this band, at least for the foreseeable future. To begin with, I continue to hear that they’re planning to tour other parts of the world next year. So that’s 2017, in a nutshell. After that, I’m not sure what they’ll do, if anything.

Isn’t that idea strange? When I was a kid, I was blissfully unaware of anything really being final. I mean, it never occurred to me that they would someday stop recording. I suppose that’s also why when Roger and Andy left, I was so shocked. The thought just hadn’t occurred to me prior.  But then they reunited, and because I had already lived through band members leaving once, I knew it could happen again. Andy left a second time, and since then, I won’t lie—with the close of every album “cycle”, so to speak, I wonder if they’ll dare to try it all again. I want them to keep going, but I admittedly try to prepare myself that they will not.

Fans get furious when we—Amanda and I—even type those words here. No one wants the story to end, least of all us. I mean, think about it—what use is Daily Duranie if there’s no band?!? So before anyone accuses us of wanting them to quit, think before you type. On the same token, we’re not blind, and we recognize they could easily quit now and never look back. I wish I could will myself back to never thinking about it, but nowadays the question just seems to hang in the air, and I cannot tell you how many times I am personally asked the question—“Do you think they’ll record or tour again, Rhonda?“—at every single meet-up or event we attend.

I wish I had a crystal ball. I know that when I go to these last four shows of mine, each time I hear the little bit of “New Moon on Monday” that they’ve incorporated into their set, I’m going to try to live in that moment and not think about anything else. However, even as I type right now, I know there’s going to be a teeny piece of me (one that will probably try to grow bigger with each passing show) that is going to count down the amount of times I will still get to hear that song live. Four, then three, then two, and then one. And then what?

I am really not very good at endings. One of the most difficult things I had to do when writing the manuscript was finish the conclusion. The story shouldn’t end. I never want to write those words: “The end.” So I won’t. I am hoping for more shows, musicals, ballets, and/or work to come from people like Anna and Dom. I’ll be planning another convention for next August in Chicago, blogging each day, and writing more books. Yes, more books!!  And when the band says they’re recording again, I’ll smile.

Duran Duran Summer Tour 2016: here we come for part deux!!

-R

Crowds They Gather

We have one week before we get to see Duran Duran live in concert at Ravinia in Chicago!!  In the middle of April and May, I didn’t know if I would make it to June, forget about July.  Here we are now.  Tour time is around the corner, approaching quickly!  Over the years, Rhonda and I have developed a number of touring traditions.  In the last five years or so, one of the biggest traditions is to organize meet-ups before shows.

In 2011, we held a party in London.  During the summer of 2012, we had meet-ups before each of the four shows we attended.  That was tough.  We felt like we were literally running from one place to another, from one event from another.  We were traveling daily to each destination and instead of being able to take our time, we couldn’t.  We had to be responsible.  Yes, we took the task on ourselves because we know how important meet-ups can be.  They are great for all of the fans in attendance who get to meet or see each other!  At each one I have hosted or attended, I witness the same things.  Fans share stories and pictures.  New pictures are taken.  Excitement increases.  This, of course, translates to more energy at the show, which has got to feed the band’s energy.  The example we always give is the Durham show in the summer of 2012.  Of all the shows we saw that summer, it was by far the best.  We can’t help but to think that the large turnout for the pre-show meet-up was part of the reason.

By the end of those summer shows, I was tired, though.  I truly do like and feel VERY comfortable organizing events (I’m a teacher, after all.  I organize lessons and classrooms everyday.  I’m also a political organizer, which means setting up and running campaign activities.  Organizing is in my blood.)  That said, these meet-ups are work.  Someone has to contact venues and communicate with them.  Someone has to put up the event pages on Facebook.  Someone has to answer questions from people attending.  Then, sometimes, there is more to it.  For example, this time around, we will need to create some sort of sign for the Chicago meet-ups.  We have raffles planned with Duran merch!!  There are details that need to be taken care of.  Plus, it means that we can’t get there whenever we want.  We have to arrive in time to set things up and we have to be “on” during the event.  My point is that during the summer of 2012, it was exhausting to always have to be responsible and working.  I didn’t have as much fun as I wanted.

This time, then, we decided to find a balance.  We only planned meet-ups in places that we won’t be traveling to on the day of the show.  Our travel will be more relaxing this way.  We won’t have to worry about arriving at some special time.  This means that half of our shows together will have meet-ups and half won’t.  Yes, we recognize that meet-ups are great fun and enhance the show.  We also appreciate the need for fans to meet each other to develop and reinforce community spirit.  We want to honor that.  Yet, we also owe it to ourselves to be able to relax some and just have fun.

So, what does all of this mean?  It means that we will be working as event coordinators or whatever you want to call us to ensure that the meet-ups in Chicago (both nights), Toronto and Vegas will be great for all those attending.  When we are not working, we will be fans just the rest of you.

One aspect of these meet-ups that we are particularly excited about is our brand new wristbands!  We will have a few of the old ones (the ones that John and Dom have!!) for sale as well as metallic silver and glow-in-the-dark purple ones!  The proceeds to these sales will be to go to the convention we are planning in Chicago for the weekend of August 11th (around Duran Duran Appreciation Day) in 2017.

There is still time for you to RSVP for these events!  Here are our event pages with all of the details:

Friday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Saturday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Toronto Pre-Show Party  (Facebook)

Vegas Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Hope to see you all on the road soon!

-A

And we can dance together: Pre-Show Parties!

I tweeted yesterday that whenever the @dailyduranie twitter is blowing up on my phone, I know the time is coming.  TOUR time.  Pre-Show parties are planned and happening!

I leave California, bound by plane for Chicago’s Midway airport in about two weeks.  So yes, tour time is coming! I can hardly believe it. It seems like six months has flown by since we bought pre-sale tickets, although I know it’s been less.  I’ve been busy, to say the least. Funny how writing will make the time fly right by.

Yesterday, Amanda and I spent a few hours solidifying details for the Daily Duranie pre-show parties we are hosting for this tour.  We can’t be everywhere, but we’re hosting what we can, in between moments of just being fans ourselves!

We’ve Got Wristbands!

We will have wristbands and raffle tickets for Duran-items for sale at all of our pre-show parties, so bring cash with you.  The proceeds will go towards our convention fund (save the date: we’re doing another Durandemonium August 10-11 2017!)

July 8 & 9 (Ravinia – Chicago)

For both nights of Ravinia, we are hosting pre-show gatherings on the lawn area by the pavilion where the band will be playing.  I’m including a map with the area to look for us (and our Daily Duranie sign), but you should know a few other things as well:

  1. Gates open at 4pm for Ravinia
  2. Our gathering begins at 5:00pm – 6:30pm.
  3. We will have a couple of blankets and towels but you might want to bring one of your own to sit down on.
  4. This is BYO-everything.  We’re just meeting and coordinating as a group to hang out and mingle before the show.
  5. Food is available at Ravinia, but it is also common to bring your own picnic – it’s whatever you want to do.
  6. We are meeting somewhere on the grassy knoll area that is directly behind the pavilion seats. If you walk in the main gates and go past the Martin Theater (should be on your right), we’re going to be closer to the pavilion, also on the right side.  See map for details.
  7. Look for the Daily Duranie poster!

7/13 (Molson Amphitheater – Toronto)

We’ve set up a group reservation at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto, which is near the Amphitheater. For this party, we definitely need your serious RSVP on the Facebook event page for this gathering (link provided below)  Please do NOT RSVP if you’re not going to the show, do not live anywhere near the US and/or do not plan to be there that night. We love that everyone wants to be with us in spirit and we appreciate that – but please do not RSVP unless you are seriously attending.

The party will begin at 4:30 pm at the Hard Rock in Toronto, and it will be a blast!  Depending upon the number of people planning to join us, we’ll either do a large table or do more of a stand-up table and mingle set-up.  The Hard Rock has been awesome about working with us in the past and so we really appreciate their ongoing support for our parties!

7/29 (Mandalay Bay Event Center, Las Vegas)

For this event, we are still coordinating the timing with DDM so that our party will not interfere with the VIP Cocktail Reception taking place that evening.  What I can tell you though, is that we’re going to do our own Happy Hour/Cocktail gathering at Eye Candy in the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  This is simply for drinks and chatting, and the venue was chosen for its central location and very open seating (the bar opens at 3pm, and my best guess is that we’ll meet-up around 4:30 if not a bit earlier).  Pro tip: there is no food available at this bar, so you should plan and eat accordingly!

Naturally, we’ll keep everyone updated as much as possible from here, but for the most accurate information and to let us know if you’re coming to any of the parties we’re hosting, please see the Facebook events page….and spread the invites to your friends!  The more the merrier!  Please let us know you’re attending.  We can’t wait to see as many of you as possible!

Friday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Saturday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Toronto Pre-Show Party  (Facebook)

Vegas Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

 

-R