Tag Archives: Paper Gods 2015 tour

Tour Reflections of Agua Caliente

A year ago today I was driving Amanda to the airport to catch her flight back to reality.  We had just spent a week (give or take) together seeing shows at the Hollywood Bowl, The Greek theater at UC Berkeley, and Agua Caliente.

For me, the Agua Caliente show was the show to beat. I’ll never have another experience like that one. It was front-row-elbows-on-a-monitor madness. The show was in a smaller theater than either Berkeley or Hollywood Bowl. It was intimate, the band appeared alone without Chic on the bill, and I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, the shows with Chic have been fantastic, but I enjoyed seeing Duran Duran on their own, too.

Front row in such a small theater give me a completely different perspective than I’d ever had before. I was able to see each band member up close, and really revel in their expressions in a way I hadn’t previously.  I could feel the music and I knew as I walked away from the venue that I would never have a show quite like that again.

The thing is, on some level I can probably say that about every single show I’ve ever seen.  They’re all different.  I’ve had a unique perspective each time – even if I’ve sat in nearly identical seats each night! Truthfully, my head did wander into the “How am I ever going to top this one?” area after Agua Caliente.  I was concerned that—if that show was the top for me—that every other show I’d ever go to would leave me wanting for more.

Funny how things don’t work that way. I’m honest when I say that I didn’t think too much about that when the band took the stage at Ravinia this summer.  I didn’t really think about being front row when Simon sauntered to the front of the stage with a mouth full of water in Paso Robles.  Each show was unique and exciting all on their own. Sure, some are just better than others I suppose, in the same way that some soccer games are more exciting than others, and I do have my favorite moments—but I didn’t need to worry that I’d never have another show that would measure up. They all did!

Looking back now, which I realize is some sort of Cardinal Sin for the band, but for us is part of the luxury we hold as fans, every single show I’ve gone to (yes, even that fateful fan show in NYC) has had memorable moments. I value every single one. I’m not sure if that comes with age, experience, or just the fact that I’m especially thankful for what I’ve done these days, but more and more often I find myself smiling when I think about all I’ve seen and done.

I’ve met some really nice people, including some that I highly doubt I’d have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  There are still dull spots of course—life is not utopia. Yeah, it still bothers me when the sum of my existence is “Duranie” and that somehow that single word puts me (and others like me) in a column characterized by words like “crazy”, “obsessed”, and “groupie”.

I just had someone tell me yesterday that he needed to unfriend me on Facebook simply because I am a Duranie and his girlfriend doesn’t like it. I understood the implication, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t sting. I respect this person, I’m married and I honor the boundaries of my male friends, regardless of who they are. But how can one really argue with a stereotype?  I’m not sure we can if no one wants to listen. At the end of the day, I have to hope that those who value my friendship (as I do theirs) would see the difference.

It is hard to imagine it has already been a year since those shows. In other ways though, at least for me—it feels like a distant, fond memory. This year, I don’t see that the change has been in Daily Duranie, but perhaps in me. I see things a little differently, and I take a little more time to just enjoy the good things without worry of what comes next.  Not a bad way to reflect on some of the best times I’ve had in my life, actually.

-R

 

The End of Everything and Everyone

I saw some distress in the Duran Duran fan community after an article came out with this headline:  “Duran Duran admit the end could be near as they prepare for Nottingham show.”  This article, which you can read here, featured an interview with John Taylor.  In this interview, John says the following about Duran’s future, including how many albums they will be making:

“What I will say is that there aren’t going to be that many more,” he admits.  “And because that may be the case then you feel that you’ve got to make it as good as you can.  Because there are not going to be that many but the ones that are will be here forever.”

Let’s break down what he said.  He did not say that Paper Gods would be the last Duran Duran album.  Instead, what he said that is that there won’t be MANY more.  Does that mean that there will be one more album?  Three more?  Clearly, he didn’t give specifics.  It sounds to me that he doesn’t really know how many more albums there would be, which makes sense to me.  First of all, Duran Duran takes a LONG time to make an album.  John gives one reason why they might take a long time to make albums in that quote.  The band knows that the albums will be around forever so, clearly, they want to take their time to make the best ones they can.  Lately, it has taken them between 3-4 years between albums.  Let’s face it, three years from now, Simon will be turning 60.  Second, life happens.  It is unpredictable.  As much as the band might want to make three or ten more albums, they don’t really know what the future will hold.  No one does.

Clearly, though, the idea that Duran would cease to exist anymore is upsetting.  I totally get why fans would express concern and sadness over reading that headline.  No one wants the end of Duran Duran.  The thought of the band ending SOMEDAY causes my stomach to clench and tears to instantly form in my eyes.  My world would be a much, much, much smaller place and I would be incredibly heartbroken.  The grief would be intense.  That said, I recognize that they can’t continue forever, no matter how much we might want them to continue.  I think of my own career.  I have students who tell me over and over that I should always be at the high school I’m at, teaching.  They want their own children to go to school there and have me as a teacher.  Obviously, I am flattered by this but someday I will leave that school.  Right now, like Duran Duran, I don’t know if I will teach there for another year or 3 years or 10.  I just don’t know.  Therefore, I found John’s statement to be incredibly realistic.  It doesn’t sound like he wants to be done but he accepts that the future might require them to be done.  I have to respect that.

While many fans seemed particularly upset by this statement, some were more upset because it was stated during a tour.  I am not sure what the concern there is.  Do they think this would stop people from attending shows?  Do they think that new fans wouldn’t be created?  I’m not sure.  I had a different reaction to the fact that John said this during a tour.  It reminded me that I need to embrace what the band is doing RIGHT NOW.  I don’t want to look back on the past or worry too much about the future.  I don’t want to focus on the sadness that is guaranteed to come once Duran is done.  No, instead, I want to be happy that the band has an album out and that they are touring.  It reminds me that I shouldn’t put off going to as many concerts as I can because there will be an end someday.  I don’t want to have regrets.  Instead, I want to be able to say, at the end of the day, that I embraced the band as much as I could when I could.  If there is a lesson in John’s statement, perhaps, it is that.  Embrace the band now and for as long as you can.

-A

 

(Slightly late!) November 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Today is December 3rd. I don’t know what happened, but I missed the posting of the November 2015 Katy Kafe. I’m expecting a pink slip at any point from Amanda…but until then….enjoy the highlights!!

(Remember, this isn’t word for word. I’m lucky if I even got quotes right this time because I was lightning fast with my writing. If you want to hear the whole thing, cough up your $35.00 and join the paid fan community at DDM!!)

Paris

Keeping in mind that this Kafe is from November 18th, it is no surprise that Katy opened with the subject of Le Bataclan and Eagles of Death Metal in Paris. Katy describes the gig as sacred space – which is completely accurate, in my mind. That’s exactly how I (and many music fans) feel about the concert experience. Real life, politics, etc should stay on the outside of those walls. John talks about how it “broke a boundary.” I couldn’t agree more. He continues by saying, “We really love those guys. We wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” (I appreciated that John said he didn’t feel especially equipped to really say much about the events in question because, let’s face it, how many of us really DO feel equipped? I’m still trying to process Paris, along with the atrocity that my community is digesting from yesterday. I grew up near San Bernardino, and I currently live about 30 miles from there. To say it is unreal would be an understatement. John’s humanity is genuine, and I think most fans are drawn to that about this band in general.) The subject of “Save a Prayer” is brought up, as it was the last song that Jesse Hughes’ girlfriend put up on Periscope of the show – and John admits that being tied to the horror of what happened that night in such a way feels weird. He expands by saying that the idea of a song being reinvigorated by a newer band is something any band would want, but having it happen in this way, in this sense, is not what they were thinking. He feels it’s important for Eagles of Death Metal to continue and that this is an opportunity for them to be a force of positivity.  I think that’s something we can all agree on. I hope they can find the strength and courage to continue because this tragedy happened TO them in a way it didn’t happen to U2, or Duran Duran, or anyone else for that matter. Their voice is an important call to action for the rest of us who very much love music and feel, rightly so, that a sacred space (to use Katy’s words) was breached that night – and we’re not going to let it consume us. Instead, we are going to let that act give us energy and power to keep going (anytime the Eagles of Death Metal are ready to get started – I’m ready to applaud them right here on this blog).

UK Tour

At the time of the Kafe, the band hadn’t yet began their tour, but Seal had just been announced as one of the opening acts (The Bloom Twins being the other). John explains that they first played a gig with Seal at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas in 1992. He calls Seal “a class act”. He continues on by saying that they first caught on to the idea when Nile toured with him this past October in the US.  The idea that Nile had hit songs wasn’t lost on John, as he described the experience as being an “eye opener.” (Having been at a few of those shows, I have to chime in and say that while I really didn’t give much thought to the idea that Nile had hits – of course he does!! – the fact is, Nile Rodgers is a legend and to see Chic live was a dream come true for me and likely many others. Who didn’t come away from their sets on cloud nine and totally ready for Duran? In the sense that an opening act is supposed to warm up the crowd – I think Chic and Nile did that in spades.)

US Tour (October)

In a word, John called them “AMAZING”. He said that they were among their best shows ever with some of the best crowds. He admits that it had been a few years (Entirely too long, I might add!!!) and they weren’t sure what kind of reception they’d get. (I am always surprised when they say this because what did they really think? Did they really think that only 20 of us would show and throw things at them?? Never!) He talks about the “love in the room” – of which yes, there was a lot of that. John also says that he felt a change from the last tour, that it felt different – but it was “all great”, adding that Nile seemed to set the tone and that each show left them satisfied. (The fans though? We’re never satisfied for long, are we??) 

2016

What will 2016 bring? Well, John was quick to make my entire week by saying that they are working on an American tour that looks (keep in mind this was recorded on November 18 and things may have changed in the past two weeks!!) like it will happen in two parts: an indoor section that will be happening in the spring (define spring for me, John.) and an outdoor section in August. (I am sweating just thinking about where they might play….) He continues to make me bounce in my chair by saying the words, “we are keen to get these on sale, so an announcement should come shortly!”  I know that there are many of you out there groaning at the very thought that the band would return to America – so let me assure you he also mentioned Europe and naturally Italy for the summer, they want to go back to Japan, and of course Australia and South America, too. Katy asks specifically about India as it was somewhere Nick had mentioned, but John seemed iffy at best as to whether playing there was a possibility. So, Santa might be bringing all of us a list of tour dates….and pre-sales…this holiday season. Ho ho ho….

Goals for Paper Gods

Katy brings up an interview that John did for press in Liverpool where he mentioned that their first goal with the album was to hit the bullseye with fans. She mentions that it would seem that it’s spreading beyond that bullseye now.  John says that they “set a high bar” with the album, noting that bands don’t spend two years recording to “put something out and just see what happens.”

JT doesn’t want to say what his goals are for the album, but that they all have “big dreams for it.” Round one was to get the fans to really love it. He recalls getting a text from Katy on the day that they released What Are the Chances (I want to clarify that while it wasn’t completely clear in the Kafe – I believe he’s meaning the day that we first heard WATC, prior to the release of the album, and NOT when they announced it would be the next single.). She apparently had told JT that fans were going nuts for the song and that it “hit fans right between the eyes.”  John says that he sat back and just said a triumphant “YES!”

The goal now is to broaden that appeal, which takes time and getting exposure in ways they might not think.  He and the other members of Duran Duran very much want to get this album heard by the people.  “The Pressure Off experiment has run its course, and we’re happy with how it’s done but Round two is seeing where What Are the Chances takes us.” (I wish someone would ask the band about radio. I have NEVER heard Pressure Off or What Are the Chances” on regular old land-based radio…and I struggle with understanding how important, or not important, getting it heard on the radio really is. Things have obviously changed since I was a kid! Should I worry that I never hear it? Fans like myself whisper about this from time to time in emails and I see it brought up on Twitter, but I really never know what to say.  Does it matter, and if it doesn’t – how else does a band go about getting exposure these days? Print and TV media can’t seriously be the end all, can it??) 

John then launches into a story that I think is worth including because, to be fair – is exactly how I felt when I first saw Paper Gods on iTunes. He explains that when the album came out, he was shocked to see it classified as pop, saying that he hadn’t felt like he’d been a pop musician in the past 25 years or so. He took a look at the other artists in that category – none of them were much over the age of 25 or so – and he wondered how they’d ever be able to compete with those kids.  John uses the word “fucked”, which is more than appropriate and I concur!! He specifically mentions Ariana Grande, for instance, saying that he felt they’d made a very progressive record he very much hopes to get heard by the masses – but probably NOT by listeners of Ariana Grande. (It is in this particular moment when I feel both complete dismay AND vindication to some extent. It wasn’t just me who was completely confused by Paper Gods being classified as Pop, and I wasn’t the only one thinking that there was no way they could ever compete with the likes of Justin Bieber…and honestly, would they even WANT to??? I love Duran Duran, obviously…but be honest here…no kid who listens to Justin or Ariana is likely to give Duran Duran a chance, primarily because it is THEIR PARENTS who grew up with the band.) So the question becomes – how will it all pan out?  Katy assures him that it has gotten fantastic reviews and that it’s particularly gratifying to her to see the great reception, and that it’s genuine. He and Katy are both right about one thing: fans love this album. We’ll fight to the death for it. We soldier on. The album, and most certainly this band, is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears (and there have been plenty!) we can muster.

-R