Tag Archives: Nick Rhodes

So Red The Rose: Arcadia or Power Station?

I don’t think I’ve spent much time writing about Arcadia or Power Station. I suppose to begin with, this site is dedicated to being a Duran Duran fan, so there is that. On the other hand though, Arcadia, Power Station, et al, have all been stops along my way. On this date in 2010, So Red the Rose was remastered and released. So, it seems appropriate to write a little about Arcadia today.

On the purely frivolous side, I loved Simon’s look during this period. Nick’s hair, longer than mine has probably ever been, was beautiful too.  It was as though they took whatever they’d done in Duran Duran and turned it up a notch with just a tinge more darkness. I loved it.  Their style was part of their branding, and I loved the whole package. The videos? I still watch them whenever I get a chance.

For me, Power Station was all about the music. It’s not that I wasn’t a John-fan or an Andy-fan, but I don’t know that I would say style was as much the focus as the music.  Many people describe Arcadia as an art project. Well, Power Station was a rock band. I embraced that.

This is the point where the discussion gets trickier (for me). Arcadia checked all the same boxes for me as Duran Duran. I loved the feel of the music, it was unique and different and nothing like anything else I heard on the radio. It was recognizable and comfortable to me because of Simon’s voice, but I cannot lie – I dearly missed John and Andy.

On the same token, I enjoyed Power Station. In the same way that I dearly loved AC/DC…Led Zeppelin….and just about any hard rock band of that era, hearing Andy and John lay it all out on the line in a way that Duran’s music did not allow was fantastic. But I missed the keyboards.

It was as though Power Station and Arcadia were the results of a very involved surgery to separate conjoined twins. Each could survive without the other, but should they? They weren’t quite the same on their own. Both bands were great, don’t get me wrong. I loved them both for their individuality, but if I could have smooshed them together to create one band, I think it might have been perfect.

Oh wait.

I see the debate anytime the subject of one or another comes up.  It always starts out by asking, “Which was your favorite?” For me, it depended on my mood and it still does. Yes, Roger was my favorite, and so you’d think I would have given the edge to Arcadia. Some days, I did. On other days though, I longed for that seemingly reckless guitar and deep bass groove. I never really had a favorite between the two of them. Sure, I loved the video for Election Day (who doesn’t?!?), but I also really liked Some Like it Hot. That guitar solo? Yes, please!  Invariably the discussion dissolves into who “left” the band and why, as though those facts alone should determine allegiance. It is just music.

In a nutshell, the Arcadia/Power Station debate is a very good metaphor for my own musical tastes, even today. On one hand, there is nothing like a great Duran Duran concert.  On the other, I really just want to stand in front of Dom while he’s playing his own music. I love Duran Duran. I also like Metallica. It’s not necessarily this OR that, but both…and why not?

So let’s watch some videos!

 

 

Enjoy!

-R

 

 

 

Anaheim House Of Blues in 2001 – were you there?

Today marks a kind of special day for me in Duran history. I almost forgot it…but thanks to the spreadsheet that Amanda has painstakingly amassed, I was properly reminded.

On this date in 2001, Duran Duran played at the Anaheim House of Blues. Just a normal date, on a normal day, right? Yes, except that at  this show, my fandom was reawakened.

In 2001, I was a young mom of two very little kids. My son Gavin was barely two, and Heather was four. At the time, Duran Duran was about the furthest thing from my mind. My days were spent doing laundry, trying to make sure my kids didn’t kill one another (you think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not).

At the time, Walt and I had annual passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, and we spent many a weekend taking the kids to the parks. On one of those weekends, we were strolling through Downtown Disney, and Walt happened to notice that the marquee for the House of Blues announced an upcoming show for Duran Duran. He asked if I wanted to go and I laughed. That’s right, I laughed. I hadn’t really listened to Duran Duran in years. I still had all of their albums, and fond memories, but I was in the throes of Mommyhood. I didn’t love Medazzaland, and admittedly, I hadn’t even bought Pop Trash.  Walt looked at me pretty insistently, saying I needed a night out (which meant getting a sitter, and that seemed like so much work!), so I told him to go ahead and get them. I really wasn’t excited, but I figured I might as well go.

Yes, telling this story makes me laugh…and kind of embarrasses me at the same time. It was like I was a completely different person back then!

I really was.

The night of the show arrived, and we got to Downtown Disney early enough to grab dinner. That’s right, I didn’t insist on getting there at 5am to grab a good spot. We walked by the line of people waiting to get in — it wasn’t very long — and Walt asked if I wanted to go wait. I said “No way, I want to eat dinner! I don’t need to be up front!!”

Insanity, I tell you.

We got dinner, went in about twenty minutes before the show started, and I decided I didn’t want to stand on the floor. I ended up being by the stairs in the back. Plenty close enough for me, because I wasn’t a huge fan. I’d given that up years before, right? Before long the show started and Simon, Nick and Warren took the stage.  I remember thinking to myself how, after all these years, I was finally in what I could consider to be the same room with Simon and Nick. Not the same arena, but the same breathing space. I was only a matter of feet from them. Yeah, Warren was there too, but I convinced myself that if I just ignored that part of the stage, it wouldn’t matter. (Sorry Warren fans. I was reliving the Fab Five as a Fab Twosome) John and Roger’s absence were noted, and I wondered wistfully what it would have been like with them there, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts. I just lived and breathed the music that night.

I don’t remember much after that. I screamed, nearly cried and lost my mind.  Something happened during that show. Something deep, meaningful and visceral.  I remembered who I was before children, before getting married, before becoming whatever I was right then. I was reintroduced to the girl I once knew, and I really liked her.

That show was pivotal for me in so many ways. I can’t really talk about some of the things I’ve felt since then, or how that single show really woke me back up. I’m just thankful and filled with gratitude that I went. My life went from being pretty grey to complete Technicolor after that night. My husband didn’t realize what he’d done by insisting that I go with him to that show until it was far too late. I would imagine if he could, he’d go back and change that plan, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, that show saved me. I can’t even explain how or why—even for me, some things are just too private to blog about—but that show saved me.

I have a long, long way to go. But, I’ve reclaimed much along the way. I suppose in some way, I’m trusting the process (and what a process it is!). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am lucky. Yeah, I tease and joke about the band, and they drive me crazy at times—but I’m lucky I have this fandom.

I don’t know how many people think they grow out of something like this fandom, only to be reintroduced much later and jump back in with both feet. I did, and I’m not leaving. The Anaheim House of Blues on March 28, 2001 was a special night, I hope to never forget it.

-R

March 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I am late. Ridiculously late. Not one, not five…but TEN days late…..for posting the highlights of the most recent Katy Kafe with Simon.

This is the kind of thing that happens when someone is working and misses a tweet or post from Katy, announcing that the most recent Kafe is up and ready for listening. Thanks to Debbie on Twitter!  When it appeared that I was going to ignore the Kafe completely, she sent a note asking about it. I saw the message yesterday while welcoming my students on to campus yesterday, and made a note to figure out what she was talking about!

I think this might have been the first time I truly missed a Kafe completely, and I’m sorry.  But, without further delay – here are my highlights.  You all know the disclaimer I’m about to write, but I will say it anyway:

These are my notes from the Katy Kafe, it is not a full-transcript of what was said. Often, I interject with my own opinion, and therefore, if you really want the full Kafe, you’ll need to purchase a membership to Duranduranmusic.com.  

Simon on Coffee

Over the past couple of years, Simon has talked about coffee quite a bit in the Kafe. He is down to six cups a day (down from 12, which he claims “…is apparently not good for you.” I don’t even know how to respond to that, Simon…except that you never fail to make me laugh. If I drank six cups a day, my heart rate would be about 175 and I’d end up in the hospital. My “ticker” already likes to go faster than normal as it is!)  But now, he drinks Bullet Coffee.

This is not really a “new” thing, because I remember seeing this little concoction mentioned by many of my friends on Facebook two years ago or more.  Alas, we’ll play along… Simon describes that basically, you brew coffee as normal, then put it into a blender (or bullet blender, as the case may be!) along with some coconut oil (he calls it wax, which does nothing to sell me on it, but he’s right – that’s what it looks and feels like) and some butter (not just regular butter, either butter from grass-fed cows, or Irish butter – maybe they don’t call it that in England?? – or as Simon mentions, goat butter). You blend it, and apparently it tastes good, and puts your body into ketosis, or fat-burning mode. Simon says he likes to drink it before he trains.

I’d like to drink it before I go to the doctor for my monthly “how high is your pulse and blood pressure today, Rhonda?” check-ins. Except I would do it just to see the reaction from the nurse and my doctor. Yes, I’m that kind of patient. Moving on…

Simon on the David Bowie Tribute Performance

For those wondering how Simon’s performance of “Let’s Dance” (which was fantastic, BTW) came about, it turns out that Sterling originally contacted Nick to play.  Sterling plays drums in Bowie’s stage band, and the tribute involved other artists coming on stage to perform with the band. Nick mentioned it to Simon, who was interested in singing. The organizers decided to have Simon perform “Let’s Dance”, (not one of Simon’s favorite Bowie songs). This made sense to Simon though, because it was from the same time frame as Duran Duran’s height in popularity (The Reflex), and the song itself suited him very well.

Simon describes the song as not being easy to sing, due to the massive gaps in singing – the timing has to be just right to keep the song flowing. As we all know (and you can see below), he did a great job with it.

 

After the show, the performers went to hotel that I didn’t catch the name of (sorry, I was busy multitasking by making breakfast for my youngest!), and stayed up very, very, late. He follows up by saying that he is “really good at metabolizing booze”.

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.  Oh, Simon. 

Simon on Music (Italy)!

Originally, the offer to do this show came through an Italian promoter who had never worked with Duran Duran. (The funny thing about this little segue was that Simon originally used the term “agent”…and then said, “I’m not really good about business things like this – ‘job titles’ and that sort of thing!” )

Simon rarely does solo performances, preferring to spend his time working on Duran Duran things and “being exclusive”, but this time, he decided to do it.

“Broken Dream” is a song that Simon completely reimagined. He sings it lower than the original, because his natural register is much lower than what he often does in Duran Duran. He had thought about the musical arrangement, wanting to go with a modern-sounding orchestra and organ accompaniment. The finished product, which I linked below, isn’t exactly as he had originally imagined, but after listening to it, Simon felt it really worked.

As a personal note, I thought it was easily one of Simon’s best vocal performances I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t watched it, you should. 

 

Simon said that learning the words was the toughest part, because for him, a great performance means completely relaxing so that he completely opens up vocally.

Katy said that she really loved his performance, proclaiming it better than the original, and commented on his suit (Sir Tom Baker), and his hair.

Simon on the Upcoming Tour Dates

This short tour began with the band wanting to do dates in South America since it had been a long time. However, the band felt they needed to do something different from just showing up and playing “the same thing”.  He made the point that Lalapalooza gives them access to an entirely new audience.  This does make sense, although as a fan I have to wonder why going and playing shows for their South American Duranies doesn’t seem to be enough.  My guess is that in order to justify the trip, business-wise (and I don’t know to whom) – they need to prove they would be gaining audience numbers. I’m not sure, but I do know that South America is thrilled they’re making their way to see them!

Katy pressed Simon on the possibility of upcoming Australian dates, to which Simon said that dates are coming for both there and the Far East, but they are not yet confirmed.  He mentioned Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore before saying he really didn’t know. I guess we’ll all find out soon!

Simon on the band’s big 4-0

The Kafe ended on a positive note, as Katy asked about any plans the band may have for their 40th birthday next year. Simon commented that this, even with the few dates they’ve got coming up, is their bit of time off before beginning to celebrate.  He continued on saying that while he didn’t join the band until the 80s, they’re celebrating the beginnings of John and Nick getting the band together and that it’s bound to be a “busy, fun, year” filled with tours and “lots of stuff”!

(I hope everyone’s bank accounts and credit cards are ready. Mine, however, are not. EEK!)

So sorry it was so late!!

-R

 

Musical Offer!

Duran Duran’s social media posted this picture yesterday:

Photo from Duran Duran’s Twitter Account

The tweet that went along with the photo was, “Happy Friday!  Nick and John in the studio in London”  After I saw the photo, I texted Rhonda to ask, “Know why they are in the studio?” as I figured that I missed some statement due to my insane schedule.  Rhonda said that she figured that they were working on the little musical those two are writing.  After all, Nick mentioned their goal to finish a second draft before shows started, which made sense to me.  This got me thinking.  Dangerous, I know.  Here’s the conclusion I came up with…  (Just a heads up…what you are about to read is supposed to be funny, a joke.  No hate mail.  Thankyouverymuch.)

Dear Nick and John,

It has come to my attention that you two have been working on a Broadway musical.  In fact, based on the most recent Katy Kafe, which took place in January 2017, the first draft of this musical is done.  You have finished writing it.  Now, you are working on perfecting your ideas by completing a second draft.  Obviously, your fans are thrilled to hear of the progress of this exciting project.  More than that, we are all anxious to be able to see and hear the musical ourselves in person.  Yet, we recognize that the process is lengthy and that there are many steps in between idea to completion.

One of the many steps that needs to be completed is to play the musical for a selected audience in order to receive necessary feedback of a project of this size.  After all, the intention of the musical is to be actually seen and heard by an audience, by people.  You would need to know what people think about it, right?  

Therefore, I am writing to you to offer Rhonda and myself as your guinea pigs, so to speak.  We are putting ourselves out there as a potential focus group.  You can then plan to play your musical for us and we would be pleased to provide some feedback, offering both much praise (we are sure!) and any potential suggestions for changes, adjustments, etc.  

The perfect time for this feedback session to happen would be in March, specifically surrounding the weekend of the shows at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, California as we will all be in the same place at the same time.  In fact, my flight will arrive in Los Angeles late on Thursday, March 16th.  We could then schedule a listening session for that Friday, March 17th before the show.  We would be available all day for such purposes.  Of course, during the day on Saturday and Sunday would work as well since my return flight does not take place until Monday morning.  

In conclusion, both Rhonda and I myself wish you the best of luck in completing that second draft and hope that you will consider our offer to listen and give necessary feedback in order to reach your end goal with the musical successfully.  You can reach us here through our social media as well as through our email.   We look forward to hearing from you.  

Sincerely,
Amanda and Rhonda

If you are still reading, hopefully you understand that we don’t really expect this letter to be read or responded to (although we would be open if we did get a response!).  I wrote it just for fun.  That said, how cool would it be to get to hear this musical while they are in the process of writing it!?!

-A

Out of My Mind (no really!)

On this date in 1997, Duran Duran began filming a video for a little song called “Out of My Mind”.  They had traveled to Prague, and were filming at a castle (Krumlov Castle)…as one does, or at least did! Right?

Here’s a little more “truth” to add to the story.  This is the ONE video from Duran Duran that I genuinely do not know very well. I didn’t even know it existed until a good many years after it was filmed. Out of My Mind is off of Medazzaland, an album that came out just as I was learning how to be a mom. I had no time to pay attention back then, and it wasn’t until much later that I really spent time listening to and appreciating Medazzaland.

I will go so far as to say that I didn’t even realize that Out of My Mind had been a single, or included on the soundtrack for The Saint until far later, much less know the video. (I will accept my award for “biggest loser fan” at any time now) My only reason for sharing this extra info here is simply to show that all of us have our times when Duran Duran just isn’t the highest priority. At this point in 1997, I was struggling just to keep my head above water. I had a newborn, I didn’t know what I was doing, and to be blunt – I felt like I was losing MY mind. So, there you have it!

So, before posting I watched the video again. I think part of the reason I feel so unfamiliar with the video is because, in short – the video is downright creepy in parts. Simon wears facial prosthetics so that he appears to age, Nick is, well…Nick…(that means delightfully wicked), and Warren is Warren…although there’s one part where someone bites his ear and then animated blood appears to drip.  So that’s fun.  In my opinion, the video works very well with the mood of the song, but it is a song (and a video) that I have to be in just the right mood to appreciate.

Check it out again and see what you think!

-R

 

 

 

 

Do you remember Electric Barbarella on the UK Lottery Show?

It is getting to the time of year that I enjoy.  Typically, January is a quiet month for Duran Duran. They’re coming off of a holiday break, perhaps they’re busy, but they aren’t necessarily doing a ton of public performances and press.  So, the dates in history can be somewhat…well…unexciting. Yes, I said it.

However, today is January 30th. On this date in DD history, there are several items of interest, but the one I’ve chosen to highlight is their appearance and performance of Electric Barbarella on the UK Lottery show—particularly because I happen to have found video to share.

Yes, I know I should remain serious about the music, but this wouldn’t be Daily Duranie if I didn’t point out Simons fabulous demonstration of his “Hallucinating Elvis” moves. That alone is worth the time to watch!

1999….was it really that long ago?  In some ways, yes. The lineup alone has changed twice since then (Warren left at the reunion, Andy left after Astronaut). In other ways, they’re still the same guys…and Simon’s dancing has not exactly improved. (It’s getting close to March and I have to get in a fair amount of teasing between now and the time they arrive, otherwise it just wouldn’t seem right!)

Back to business, I don’t know that I’d actually watched this before.  Sometimes, I will stumble upon something that I either haven’t seen, or didn’t pay attention to the first time (!!!), which is an important piece of what makes writing Daily Duranie fun for me. I see and learn new things constantly. That’s one thing about Duran Duran, as prolific as they have been during their career – there is always something new to find, absorb, and learn. I love that! Hopefully, our readers enjoy what we post as much as we enjoy writing it all.

Happy Monday!

-R

 

Who wants more shows?!? DD Announces Four More 2017 Dates! (US)

If  Duran Duran fans didn’t already have plans for 2017, the band is doing their part by announcing four more US dates to take place during March and April.

March 21, 2017: Dallas, TX Music Hall at Fair Park

March 22, 2017: Sugar Land (Houston, TX area) Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land

April 5, 2017 Hollywood, FL (Miami area) Seminole Hard Rock Casino

April 8, Atlanta, GA Chastain Park

Oh, to only be a fly on the wall at the band’s management office….

Why more US shows?  What made these cities stand out as places to visit? Why do the dates surround those in South America instead of say – beginning here, moving on to South America and then the rest of the world, which we are ALL aware they have sorely missed thus far?   Why didn’t they ever plan a European tour to support this album?  Where are those Australian dates and why is it taking so long to even announce them?

These are only a few of the questions that I’ve seen posted and directed at Duran Duran on every sort of social media. I don’t have answers. I can guess that touring in the US pays the bills, although I don’t know why that would be more so than other places – particularly when the band points out that audiences in South America are among their best in the world.  I can also imagine that logistically, touring here might be easier?  We are 50 contiguous states on a large continent with many large cities to visit and arenas to play.  Even with that in mind, it does seem like it has taken quite a long time for the band to even announce other dates in other countries.

In the most recent Katy Kafe, Nick mentioned that they are looking at the Septemberish time frame for Australia, and that they are hoping to get to other places (Japan, etc) in that area of the world. This is much of the same thing that has been said since Paper Gods was first released in 2015 and the band discussed places they’d like to tour. Each time the subject comes up during a Kafe, it seems as though the time frame continues to be set out farther and farther – the idea becoming more like a dream than an eventuality. One can only assume that the costs of touring are astronomical, and that the band must have to front much of that cost, so even the very best tours that would pack a huge bang for the buck must be planned with precision and care.

I have no doubt that many fans, throughout the world, are getting frustrated. I’ve seen the words, “since you’ve forgotten your fans in _______________” included in many a comment on any post the band has made lately.  I know a lot of people are angry about the additional US dates, and while sure I’m thrilled to hear they are visiting, it does make one wonder about the business of touring.

This time, at least for the dates they are doing in Rancho Mirage, the shows are in a much smaller venue than those I saw last year. Yes, arenas are great, but I am ready for some smaller, more intimate gatherings. It would seem that these newly announced shows are a reasonable balance. Although I have not seen them at all of the venues announced, I did see them at Chastain Park in Atlanta for the All You Need is Now Tour.  The amphitheater seats 6,900 and is nicely sized.  When the band is touring on their own, this size of venue feels comfortable and appropriately welcoming in most cases.  Sure, I’d love to have them play for me and a few hundred of my close friends in my backyard….but I’ll take the shows with a few thousand or so any day and be happy!

There is a lot coming up in the world of Duran. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the band, John and Nick are working on a musical…there’s been talk about the band going back into the studio, although no time frame has been suggested.  It is hard to say how to this will fit into the journey, all we can do is buckle up for the ride ahead!

-R

January 2017 Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes

Friday came with a surprise: a brand-new Katy Kafe for January 2017, complete with Nick Rhodes in the guest seat!

As always, I begin my post of the highlights with a simple disclaimer: this is not going to be a complete transcript of everything said. My notes are copious but not perfect, so if you want to really hear the entire thing – go get yourself a DDM membership.  Thanks!

The sound for this Katy Kafe really bothered me. Nick was very quiet, and Katy was extremely loud, to the point of being distorted – and I want to be clear, I’m not complaining about her speaking, just that it came out sounding distorted as though she were way too close to the speaker (but I don’t think that was the case). I found myself toggling the volume loud for Nick, and much softer when Katy would speak. Katy mentioned still having problems recording the Kafe. I get it…and I am only mentioning this because I might have a solution, otherwise I wouldn’t say a thing. She gets enough criticism as it is. Anyway, Amanda and I have the same trouble from time to time. I know there is software readily available for recording podcasts, and I know that Skype calls can also be recorded…and not just the video kind, but the VOIP (voice over internet provider) kind as well. I believe we spent about $50 on our software to record our video calls, and it was money well-spent, but I also am aware that more and more software is available now so that maybe it wouldn’t cost a thing, particularly for the voice-calls.  Just a thought.

Nick Is Back!

Initially, they chatted about Nick resuming his DD duties. The thing is, Nick never really stepped completely away from Duran Duran, he simply couldn’t be where they needed him to be – so rather than cancel shows, they were lucky to have Amanda (no, not THAT Amanda – MNDR, actually!) to step in and be able to do a fabulous job while Nick was away. There was no additional information given to his absence, not that I expected otherwise.

New Year Shows and Beyond for 2017

It has been many years since Duran Duran did shows around the New Year holiday, and he said it was fun, mentioning the there was “not too much expectation”, that people were just out to have a good time. He did mention that there would be some additional shows later in the year for the US, and South America.

He elaborated on South America, mentioning that they hadn’t been there in a while (about four years, he guessed) and that they have some of the best audiences in the world there with an amazing energy. They will be there for a couple of weeks, visiting Argentina, Chile and Brazil for Lalapalooza as well as an additional show in Brazil.

The subject of Australia continues to come up – and yes, it would seem the band is at least aware of the need to tour there. Dates have been, and continue to be, discussed, but nothing has been booked. They are looking at September time-period, and they’re also hoping to get to Japan and other areas (he mentioned Hong Kong for one) in that general vicinity.

Katy asked Nick if they were hoping to tour on and off for 2017 and then get back into the studio, but Nick seemed unwilling to commit. The last time Nick was in the Kafe, he seemed to think they’d go back to the studio around the September time period, but because they are now talking about Australian dates during that same time,  I have to think that the studio has been put off.  If you’re as dialed in to DD’s typical pattern,  it’s probably a smart guess to assume they won’t be going back to the studio in 2017 if they’re going to tour in September/October because typically, after a tour – they take a fair amount of time completely off before resuming. Maybe 2018? But then….that’s their 40th anniversary.  Will they tour yet again? The time frame seems to leave a lot of questions.  Time will tell.

The Musical!

One subject Nick spent a fair amount of time discussing is the musical project that he has been working on with John. Can you believe it has already been six years that they’ve been working on it?   Nick says that they are very close to finishing the first draft, mentioning the time frame and that it has been difficult for them to really have solid working time – grabbing a week here, a week there. So when in fact they’ve probably spent a solid three months time writing, it’s been spaced out over the course of six years. (I so get this from my own writing experiences with Amanda!)

The music is meant for stage, they know that for sure. What they are still thinking about is where they’ll release it. Do they put the show up first and then the soundtrack? Do they do the music first?  It’s been a very different way of writing. Imagine it – they know the characters, they know the story. Each song is a matter of getting from point A to point B and so on, but how to say it using the characters voice? He mentions how they know what each character eats for breakfast, explaining the same sort of intimate knowledge that an author might have for their own characters, and yet they’ve got an entire cast to “know” that thoroughly.

Nick mentions that the process has not been quick. On the same note – he and John have not had a lot of arguments about the direction and so forth. Once they locked down the story they wanted to tell, it was a matter of working together as a full collaboration. Nick uses Tommy (by The Who) as an example, but is quick to add that Tommy is in fact a rock opera as opposed to a musical.

He sees the musical writing/staging process as similar to a live show. Each takes the audience on a journey, following up to say that while a play writer might not have any experience with the pacing involved in a live show, he and John certainly do. He wasn’t ready to share the subject matter or theme to the musical, only saying that the story is universally appealing and that he knows of no other musical that covers what they are covering.

The Live Show

That brought the Kafe to discussing the pacing of their current live show. One of Nick’s favorite moments in the show is when the confetti cannons go off. I think most everyone is aware of the cannons during “Pressure Off”, and he says that it was really fun to watch the people’s faces as the confetti showers the crowd. He talks briefly about opening with “Paper Gods” and how Simon has enjoyed that because the song is within his natural range and is lengthy, and then compared that to opening with “Before the Rain” during the last tour.

Nick says that he has enjoyed playing all of the songs in their set for various reasons, but he does miss playing Only in Dreams and Love Voodoo, which they performed during the UK shows. They were cut because the show was becoming too lengthy (I don’t even know what this means….is there really such a thing?!?)  He explains that it becomes very difficult when pacing a show, because some songs are really only identifiable by the diehards in the first few rows, and while they might be jubilant, the rest of the audience is standing back and asking “What is this?” He says that they are constantly striving for a balance of new songs, intrigue, and old songs, and they never get it quite right. Over the years, they’ve tried adding several songs into the set list without a lot of crowd success beyond the first five rows:

Secret Oktober

Come Up and See Me

Serious

Late Bar (One that he says no one knows beyond the first couple rows – a painful, terrible truth, I might add!)

Seventh Stranger (Katy mentions that on an informal survey that Richard Blade did during the time that JT came to visit him at Sirius radio, this song was the most requested “obscurity” to be played.)

Faster than Light (The song that JT would like to do live, in response to Richard’s survey above)

However, those of us that would love a show for purely obscure songs that the rest of the world doesn’t know have a friend in Nick – he says he would love to play a show where they don’t perform a single hit! Mentioning Palomino along with Crime & Passion, he muses…and then says “whether we’ll get ’round to doing that, never know.”  They did do something similar to warm themselves up for the last tour (he is talking about the UK rehearsal gigs they did prior to the All You Need is Now tour, after Simon’s vocal issues – these were gigs just to get themselves back into playing live mode.)

They end the January 2017 Katy Kafe by  Katy thanking him, and then making quick mention that maybe they should look at doing smaller theater shows for their bigger supporters, and that way they could look at doing some of the more obscure songs in their catalog.

IF ONLY, AM I RIGHT?! 

On to February, when Nick joins Katy again for their annual Oscar Kafe!

-R

 

Do You Remember? New Moon on Monday Filmed 1984

Today is a special little day in Duran history, as far as I’m concerned. It is one that lives in infamy for the band…and one that I treasure.  On today’s date in 1984, Duran Duran filmed the video for my favorite video, New Moon on Monday.  (and isn’t it appropriate that today is in fact, Monday?)

Filmed in Noyers, France, the video (which I know we’ve all seen thousands of times) is about the band taking part in a resistance movement called “La Luna”.  Brian Grant was the director, setting out to create a short movie. Interestingly enough, Mr. Grant was not the band’s first choice for director – but their first choice (I’ll give you two guesses) was unavailable. (Yes, their first choice was Russel Mulcahy!)

As most fans know, there are several versions of this video available, the longest and most delicious being a 17-minute version included as an Easter Egg on the band’s video anthology DVD, “Greatest”. (actually, all but one of the versions is included as an easter egg on that DVD, happy hunting!) That version has plenty of dialogue between Simon and the female star, Patricia Barzyk. (she was Miss France in 1980!)

Shockingly, this is the band’s least favorite video, as Andy mentions in his book Wild Boy. (and later confirmed to me on Twitter as part of a day-long Tweet-spectacular) To be fair to the band, they had to give up part of their winter holiday to film, and it was cold. They “battled” the cold by drinking.

We all do what must be done.

Well done, boys….spending the day imbibing culminated in some of the most spectacular, wonderfully fantastical…dancing…EVER…at the end of the video. It is the gift that keeps on giving!  (I tease purely because I love.)

Although no twerking of any kind is involved that I can see (you’d only understand that comment if you were at the New Years Eve show in DC, which I was not…or if you were friends with Amanda, which I am), Simon does appear to nearly be taken out by a horse, and Nick dances. He DANCES.

Yep, the video is golden.

In all seriousness, I love this video because it’s long, it has a story to it, the styling of the band, (I always did love their bomber jacket phase), and the way they all look. (That’s right, I am mentioning their looks. I nearly floated away the first time I saw it.) If I wasn’t already completely infatuated, I surely was then. Nowadays when I see it, the memory of watching and squeeing with my friends makes me smile.

And sure, I chuckle at the dancing at the end. I would have needed to be drunk to dance on video too, so I get it.

Let’s watch again, for old times sake!

 

Alternate version:

 

Unfortunately, the 17-minute version has been blocked on YouTube recently, so I don’t have that one to share….but enjoy the others!

New Moon on Monday, 1984. Sometimes this feels like it happened a lifetime ago, but other times – I can hardly believe it’s been 33 years.

Do you remember?

-R

To Hear the Drum: New Year’s Eve Show Review

Happy New Year 2017!  We all made it!  Last night, I rang in the New Year at the MGM National Harbor with some friends and Duran Duran.  Overall, the night was a ton of fun even though I wished for some things to be different.

Pre-Show:

The evening started with a quick Uber ride from my hotel in Alexandria to Oxon Hill, Maryland.  While the resort/casino was busy, it was not overwhelming and easy to get dropped off at.  I worried a bit as my little group entered–how strict will the dress code be?  Will they accept our tickets to waive the fee?  The answers.  The dress code was not enforced as I saw many people with jeans and sneakers.  Perhaps, some of the clubs were more picky but the MGM as a whole, no.  Getting in was easy by simply giving your name.

After entering, we walked around to get a lay of the land a bit and to find coat check.  Again, it was easy to drop off.  From there, we headed over to the Lobby Bar, which is located upstairs, but near the theater.  We wanted to get our drink on and see friends before the show.  Many Duranies came, increasing the excitement for the show!      The only downside was that it took forever to get drinks.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Time flew and before long, we ventured over to the theater for the show!

The Venue:

As many of you know, this venue is new, only opening earlier in December.  I hoped to be impressed as I usually like a lot of smaller (in this case 3000 seat) venues.  Unfortunately, the design was poor.  After entering through a metal detector, there was little direction about where to go from there.  We walked past a bar and a merch booth, which included all of the same stuff as the summer shows, only to see a sign for sections 103-105.  Huh?  Where do we go in for the floor?  Luckily, kind staff directed us inside and showed our seats.  After sitting down in the middle front section, I had a chance to look around.  Shockingly, the sections of seats stretched far beyond the stage on the left and the right.  This means that if you had seats in the left section or the right section, you might be looking at a wall (and a screen) when facing forward.  A few of my friends found themselves in this position.  These photos below show better than I can explain:

The real kicker about these seats?  They were sold as VIP tickets.  I know that I would not have been happy to spend a lot of money for tickets with this poor angle.

The Show:

Let’s start with the biggest highlight of the show and the one that everyone was worried, anxious, excited about…the return of Nick Rhodes.  I snapped this picture early on in the evening just to remind myself that I was not dreaming and that he, indeed, was there.  It was SO good to have him back!

The setlist remained the same, which I was expecting.  The lights and the visuals remained the same and as always a strong addition to the show.

The band entered the stage with high energy, ready to bring it.  Yet, the venue appeared to be about half full when the lights went down. Did people forget about the starting time?  Were they expecting an opening band?  Soon enough, more people trickled in but there were still empty pockets, at least where I was sitting in the center, front section.  Then, I took note that a number of the people near me were sitting down.  Some even had their phones out, scrolling through their photos.  Wait.  What…the what is going on?  Don’t they know that they are at a Duran show?  I was confused and dismayed.  Maybe it was that they didn’t know Paper Gods.  No, for many, they remained in their seats through Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf and the rest.  Ugh.  I felt my energy get zapped.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be the band and see empty seats and people sitting.  I turned around to look at the rest of the venue and spotted a number of fans up off their seats dancing and singing.  I wished that those fans were in my section, closer to the stage.

My other big observation during the early part of the show is that the venue security was odd.  Many fans rushed into the aisles when Paper Gods began.  Security clearly asked them to move to their seats.  Many, who had come from those side sections I mentioned earlier, just moved into the center section, up front with no problem, taking up some of those earlier mentioned empty seats. Ugh again.  Why is that okay?  Why couldn’t my friend and I move up to some of those empty seats?  What about those fans loving the show in the back?

All that said, Duran put on a fine show.  I would not say they had the most energy I have ever seen (perhaps due to what appeared to be a slightly lame crowd) but there were some highlights.  Simon chatted up the crowd a bunch, which I always enjoy.  Two moments stick out. First, Simon talked about how awful 2016 was to many and asked the crowd if people were ready for 2017.  Then he said something along the line of, “Why in the fuck do you think 2017 will be any better?”  I nodded, laughed and thought that is the truth.  Before Notorious, he mentioned seeing twerking on TV that day.  I immediately hid my face, hoping that he wasn’t planning on twerking himself on stage.  I don’t know that I ever need to see that!  On the other hand, my friend and seat mate was ready to go!  Oh my!

New Year’s Moment:

Right before the clock flipped to midnight, Simon declared that the band was leaving the stage and that Carson Daly’s countdown in Times Square was to be shown on the big screen.  What…the what?!?  I came to have Simon count down.  I didn’t want to watch Carson.  I could have done that at home.  Now, I suspect that was the plan that the venue had as the band did not stay off the stage for long.  We watched literally 48 seconds of a countdown and then Duran returned about a minute after that.  Confetti was released and balloons dropped which was fun!  In fact, there were so many balloons that you couldn’t even move without sitting on one, stepping on one.  Later, I heard that there was champagne at the bar there but I have no idea if it was free or not.  I would have loved if the venue brought us all a glass because I know that I wasn’t going to move from the show, not even for a drink!

Post Show:

Many of us returned to the Lobby Bar after the show (despite the slow service) in order to keep the party going.  Most people I talked with had a great time!  Some were looking forward to tonight’s show and others were saddened that they were leaving today instead.

I, for one, am looking forward to tonight’s show.  Now, I have a lay of the land for the resort.  I will be wearing more comfortable jeans and shoes.  I also suspect that there will be more Duranies in attendance tonight vs. people who just got tickets for something to do on New Year’s or because of some special status with MGM.  Duran Duran should bring it tonight because I’ll be ready!

-A