Tag Archives: Paper Gods 2016 tour

Repost: Paper Gods, The Book

Today, I’m taking a self-imposed break. I saw that DDHQ had asked fans for their favorite tour book, and remembered how much I loved the one for Paper Gods. As you can see below, it is far more than just your average picture book commemorating a tour!

Have a wonderful Monday and I’ll be back tomorrow!



I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!


When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!


There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!


As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…


July 2016 Katy Kafe with Roger!

Today brought a rare treat!  Not only a Katy Kafe with Roger, but one that could be shared with Amanda, as she is currently sitting at my kitchen table with me!

That’s right, Amanda is here in lovely (and hot) Southern California. She arrived late last night, and we are preparing for our next road trip, which will commence tomorrow!

Roger was sitting in for Simon, who was resting his voice on a day off.    This time, Katy asked for questions from the fan community, which she then relayed to Roger to answer. I took notes, but keep in mind these are only the highlights.  The actual Katy Kafe is a member’s only exclusive available on duranduranmusic.com.


Obviously, Nick has been absent from the US tour thus far, but Roger feels the shows have gone well considering. He says that people seem to be loving the show as well as the more recent songs included from Paper Gods.  He commented that MNDR is doing well filling in, and that it’s stranger than he thought it would be playing without him. Roger has never played a Duran Duran show without Nick being in his line of sight, and they hope that Nick will be back soon.

Besides your drums and drumsticks, what is one thing you must have with you on tour?

There are two things Roger has to have with him: his MacBook and his iPhone (he really is not an ad for Apple….) while these things aren’t particularly mind-blowing, Roger did have an interesting anecdote to share about growing up. His family did not have a phone in the house!  He said that the UK was about ten years behind the US as far as that type of technology goes…but even so….WOW.

If you could play onstage with anyone, who would you choose?

Roger mentioned three:  Nile Rodgers, Bryan Ferry, and David Bowie.  Obviously, they’ve had the opportunity to play with Nile lately, which has been a treat for everyone—band and audience alike. Bryan Ferry went on before Duran Duran at one point, and made sure to stop by to see the band in their dressing room to say hi.  Roger said that it was strange having him go on before they did because he had been their idol, but that he and John stood off to the side of the stage for Bryan’s set.  Then there’s David Bowie, with whom the band toured after Roger had already left Duran Duran (1987). Unfortunately they didn’t have a chance to actually play with Bowie in recent years before his death. I have to mention that even after six months, the sadness and pain is still palpable in their words and voices whenever David comes up in conversation, which makes me sad for them. I can’t imagine.

Were you always passionate about the drums or has there ever been another instrument you’ve played?

Interestingly enough, the first instrument Roger played was bass. He wanted to learn something because his friends were all taking up instruments, and so he started on bass. Then one day he sat down behind a drum set, and it felt much more natural. he talked about he didn’t want a “normal job” (I’d say Duran Duran is about as far from that as possible!), but that his parents kept telling him that the likelihood of finding fame and fortune as a rock star was “like winning the lottery.” Roger commented that it was a combination of luck with preparation and opportunity.  Even so, guess what Roger? You won!

You’re far more vocal now than you were in the 80s. Do you view the spotlight different now?

Roger says that a lot of it had to do with growing up. It was easy for him to hide behind the others when he was younger since he was quiet and shy.  The work he did on the drums did his speaking.  He also surmises that he really didn’t know himself when he was 20, so when he returned, he decided that he was going to be himself.   This led Katy to chime in saying that if she were to give her children advice it would be not to get married before they are 30 because you really do not know yourself before that. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but overall, it’s a good point.  (As someone who married very young at the age of 24 and was a mom by 26, I TOTALLY AGREE.)

What has been your favorite show on the tour so far?

Roger has a list of favorite shows! The O2 in London was packed to the rafters, and the audience was fantastic. He commented that “it’s not work” on nights like that because “you just float through the performance.” He mentions the festival in Ottawa, and then says that all of the concerts in Canada had great energy and they loved it. Red Rocks and the Hollywood Bowl were also high on the list, as well as the legendary Apollo in NYC.

Does anyone in the band have any weird habits?

Simon has a “weird warmup” where he makes strange noises, and he even does this thing where he goes “shhhhhhhh” and Roger says that he wonders sometimes if Simon is just shushing them!

Nick is weird about not wearing jeans or baseball caps, and he also doesn’t drink hot drinks.  Also, Nick does not like being in the lobby of a hotel unless everyone else (in the band) is already down there.

John, on the other hand is “pretty normal”. “he’s intense”, Katy adds. He does have to warm up for an hour as some sort of ritual before a show, though.

Finally, Roger’s weird thing is that he does not eat fruit aside from the occasional banana.

What drummer(s) inspired your career?

Roger says there were really three who inspired his style and career: Paul Thompson from Roxy Music, Dennis Davis (who passed away just this past April) from David Bowie’s band, and Charlie Watts.  In fact, whenever he is sore from playing, he reminds himself that Charlie Watts is still playing and he’s 75.  So there you have it!

Would you ever consider writing your own autobiography?

Roger says he probably will, but not yet. He still feels like there might be more to the story to tell.

What is your guilty (eating) pleasure while on tour?

Roger confesses that he is a bit of a choco-holic!  Katy questions whether he likes milk or dark chocolate and Roger responds saying that the dressing room is filled with dark chocolate and yet he’s on the hunt for a milk chocolate bar that he typically finds at the very bottom of the basket of chocolates. He’ll grab it and then after the show he’ll eat the bar. (I have to share that when I heard that, I said “The entire BAR?” Good on you, Roger. Have some for me too as I can only have one square at a time!!)

That was the final question for the July 2016 Katy Kafe. One thing I like about Roger these days is that he’s chattier than I remember. It’s nice to hear from him, because a lot of times during interviews it doesn’t seem like he has much to say (thanks to editing I am sure).  It was the perfect Kafe to get me ready for heading out for more shows!



DTE Energy Music Theater Review

Hi everyone!

Rather than just sit down and type out my review of the show tonight in Detroit, Amanda and I agreed to do a video blog!!  Keeping in mind that we’ve had a few vodka tonics and it was a long night…check out the video we recorded from our lovely room at the Hawthorn Suites in Auburn Hills, Michigan below!


We’re off to get some rest before we drive to Toronto tomorrow!!!

See you soon, Ms. Heather!!!!

-A & R


Sympathy Eye Liner: Chicago Show Review #1

Wow.  It is hard to know where to start with today’s blog as I have much to say!  Last night marked the second Duran Duran show of this leg of the Paper Gods tour and the first show for us.  What an incredibly fun night!

Pre-show Meet-up:

Our night started fairly early as we had planned a meet up there at Ravinia before the show started.  Since we had not been to Ravinia before, we didn’t know much about where to meet, how to tell people where to find us, etc.  Even though, we arrived shortly after gates opened, the lawn was mobbed with people ready to spend the late afternoon/evening there, enjoying food, drink and the company of family and friends.  Luckily, we were able to pick a spot right behind some concession stands near the walk way separating the pavilion from the lawn.  People were able to find us and much conversation and laughter ensued.  Our raffle went well and many were able to pick up a new Daily Duranie wristband or two!  Based on the success of yesterday’s meet up, we look forward to tonight’s!

Our meet up!
Our meet up!

Nick’s Absence:

By 6:30, our group separated as we were all more than ready for the show!  Of course, we wondered how the show was going to go since Nick was absent but had nothing but we had confidence in both the band and MNDR.  We were not wrong.  I’m not going to lie.  It was weird to look up and not see Nick Rhodes standing behind the keyboards.  There were times during the show that his presence was especially felt, such as during the Reflex when Nick normally answers the question of “why don’t you use it” or at the end of Notorious.  It goes without saying that we continue to keep him and his family in our thoughts and hopes that he is able to return soon.  That said, MNDR had good energy and seemed to have fun, which I appreciated.  I liked how John went up to the keyboard riser a couple of times to check in with her.  I’m sure that she appreciated his support and the support from the fans.

Song Highlights:

Overall, it was a good show!  As with any Duran show, there are moments during the set that stand out.  Interestingly enough, I felt like the real stand out song last night was Last Night in the City.  Good energy throughout the entire song.  The other song that worked really well last night was Notorious.  The band was all front and center and seemed to be having serious fun, which I adore!  Plus, who doesn’t love the addition of Nile Rodgers!  I managed to capture a moment with the photo below.

Having fun during Notorious!
Having fun during Notorious!

Beyond those song highlights, there were good JoSi moments and fabulous DoJo, which I appreciated immensely.  I have to also say that the band did a really good job moving across the entire stage.  While I’m always really happy to have John play right in front of where I am, I recognize that he has to play to everyone and I thought John, Simon and Dom did a nice job moving to every area of the stage.  They also did a good job trying to get the crowd to join in with the usual singing, clapping, shining cell phone lights during Save a Prayer (which was dedicated to Nick Rhodes, by the way).  That said, they had their work cut out for them as the crowd was tough.

The Crowd:

I truly believe that the crowd makes a big difference in how any show will go.  If the audience has a lot of energy, that energy is fed to the band who then feeds it back to the crowd.  If the crowd isn’t into it, the band has to work that much harder.  I truly do feel like that was the case yesterday.  While I saw many fans totally into the show, dancing and singing to every note and every word, I saw empty seats, even up front.  I saw many people come and go like watching the band was just an afterthought.  Many people just sat down.  I think the cause of this is simple.  Ravinia is one of those venues who have subscribers, people who buy tickets for the season and then pick and choose which shows to go to.  Thus, not everyone in the audience is a serious Duran Duran fan.  Many people could be casual fans who just know a few of the band’s hits.  For those people, they sat when they got tired or didn’t know the new tracks.  This type of set up means that the band really had their work cut out for them and they performed well despite the extra challenge.

Nile Rodgers is my new hero:

After Nile and Chic performed a solid set, Nile took time to shake hands with fans before exiting the stage.  I used that moment to slide on up to the very front.  He reached his hand down to me to shake it. Instead of shaking his hand, I asked him to take one of our brand new Daily Duranie wristbands.  He took the wristband and immediately placed it on his arm causing me to have a super big smile on my face.

After Nile took the wristband
After Nile took the wristband

While I found that moment to be pretty awesome (as I did when John and Dom got and wore their wristbands!), the even better moment was when Nile came back on stage to join the band for Notorious and Pressure Off.  As soon as he came on, I saw that he was still wearing the wristband.  I appreciated that he took the wristband but wearing meant more.

Nile wearing the wristband
Nile wearing the wristband

Other random thoughts:

I must comment on a few other things that caught my attention, in some way.  First, I must comment on Simon’s look last night.  As you all know, Simon isn’t my “favorite” band member but he was looking good.  Not only is the hair looking good, he was sporting an earring and eyeliner!  My friend, Julie, joked that he was wearing eyeliner out of sympathy for Nick.  It’s an idea that stuck with me.  Hence, the name of the blog post!

Second, I missed a couple of elements from the fall shows.  I missed the confetti during Pressure Off and, believe it or not, I missed Danceophobia.  I had been looking forward to watching John dance during that song and had to make do with his little punches during Girls on Film.

The band also had an addition at the end of the show with having giant beach balls during Rio.  While it was fun to see people in the audience hit them or seeing a band member or two hit/kick them back out into crowd, I found them distracting.  I was watching the balls more than I was focused on the song.  Rio deserves my undivided attention.

Overall, the band did well and I had a ton of fun at our meet up, during the show, and hanging with some friends after the show.  It was a really fun night, which reminded me of why I love touring and going to Duran show SO much.  Now, I can’t wait for tonight!!!


And the Show Must Go On!

I arrived in Chicago yesterday afternoon to join my partner-in-crime who flew in two days prior.  Last night, we enjoyed a night on the town with a good dinner, drinks at a couple of our favorite bars before dancing the night away at an 80s alternative night.  (The club played Rio and The Chauffeur!)  Of course, in between our rounds of vodka tonics, we were alerted to the big news from the Duran camp. Nick Rhodes had to go back home due to a pressing family matter.  Here’s the official press release in case you missed it:

Regrettably, keyboardist Nick Rhodes will be leaving the current Duran Duran tour tomorrow for a short period of time, to return to the UK to attend to an urgent family matter. The band have just embarked on the third US leg of their Paper Gods tour, which kicked off last night in Nashville. They are currently in Chicago, where they play two nights at the Ravinia Pavilion (Friday July 7 and Saturday July 8). 

Standing in for Nick will be long-time friend and collaborator, artist MNDR. 

Speaking this afternoon from Chicago, Nick said “I am devastated to be missing even a single date on this tour. We are having such an amazing time and the shows have been some of the most exciting of our career. I will be back as soon as I can but know, in the meantime, that I am leaving both the band and fans in great hands, with the fabulous MNDR.”

Not surprisingly to anyone who knows us, we spent much of the night discussing and processing through the news.  Our first thought and the one that we most often returned to was concern for Nick and his family.  We recognize that Nick would not choose to leave the tour for anything less than “urgent” as stated above.  It goes without saying that our thoughts are with him and his family as well as our love and support.

Our thoughts also turned to the shows, the tour.  Many Duranies are already giving their thoughts about the band’s decision to play here in Chicago with MNDR.  Some were just relieved that the shows will still happen while others believed that the band should cancel these shows and any other shows until Nick returns.  Others just worried about upcoming shows, wondering if MNDR is prepared to stay subbing, no matter the duration.

Before I give my two cents on the band’s decision, I want to recognize that I have NO idea all of the factors that goes into making a decision like this.  From my perspective, as someone who has tickets to not only the shows here in Chicago but later in the month, I’m glad that they are going ahead with the show (and I assume the other shows as well).  It isn’t easy coordinating a trip, saving money, etc.  If they were to cancel and re-schedule, there is no guarantee that I (or Rhonda) could even attend at that time.  Once the school year starts for me, I can’t just take off whenever I want.  (Shocking, I know.)  I think their decision to keep the shows going reflects that the band understands that shows are a big deal for fans.  And, yes, they are a big deal for them.  I can’t imagine the process it is to cancel and reschedule.  I believe, though, that they don’t want to disappoint people.  I also know, as someone who traveled all the way to the UK in 2011 only to find out that the shows were canceled how devastating that was.  I personally do not want to go through that ever again.

All that said, I recognize the fact that the show will not be the same without Nick.  I’m sure that the chemistry on stage will feel and be very different.  We will definitely miss him.  After all, he usually seems pretty entertained by us, especially when we do everything in our power to avoid Simon’s spit during White Lines.  I am thankful that MNDR is available and willing to sub for Nick.  I can’t imagine that job is an easy one and to do in short notice is impressive.  After having seen her when she opened for Duran in 2012, I’m confident that she will do just fine.

So tonight, the show will go on.  Duran Duran will take the stage minus Nick.  We will miss him terribly but we are also thankful that MNDR could step in.  I suspect that we will cheer a little extra loud today, giving as much support for the band, for MNDR and most importantly for Nick.




VIP Package Review: Summer 2016

My mailbox has been seeing quite a bit of action lately whether it’s the arrival of tickets or boxes filled with VIP merchandise.  Apparently, tour time is just around the corner!  Last fall, I reviewed the VIP package in a blog here.  I thought I might comment on the new one.

Before I start on the actual items, let me refresh everyone’s memory about the different level of VIP packages available for Duran’s upcoming leg of the Paper Gods Tour.  Ticketmaster describes the options this way:

Don’t miss iconic Duran Duran when they return to North America in support of their new album Paper Gods. See the show as an exclusive VIP. Select from a variety of packages which can include: 

The Ultimate VIP Experience 
1 Front Row Ticket 
On-site VIP concierge 
VIP cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages 
An autographed Duran Duran photo 
Behind-the-scenes backstage tour 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom-designed Duran Duran Bag 
Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel 
A Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard 

The GOLD VIP Experience 
One Premium Ticket in rows 1-6 
VIP cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages) 
On-site VIP host 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom designed Duran Duran Bag 
Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel 
Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate with Lanyard 

The SILVER VIP Experience 
1 Premium Seat in Rows 1-6 
Custom-designed Duran Duran Bag 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom designed Duran Duran beach towel  
Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate and Lanyard 

The BRONZE VIP Experience 
1 Premium Reserved Seat 
A copy of Duran Duran’s “Paper Gods” CD 
Custom designed Duran Duran Bag 
Commemorative VIP Tour Laminate and Lanyard. 


All of the packages receive a Paper Gods CD (these came earlier!), laminate, lanyard and bag.  These have been reviewed previously for the fall leg of the tour.  The only difference is the hook on the lanyard.  In the fall, the hook could be easily opened.  Now, it is more difficult to open, to attach the laminate and is also more likely to be stretched and ruined.  (We use the same type of lanyard at work and I often stretch out the fastener causing me to need new lanyards frequently.)  If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, hopefully the pictures will help.

Lanyard from Fall 2015
Lanyard from Fall 2015

Lanyard Summer 2016
Lanyard Summer 2016

Beach Towel:

As far as the new merchandise goes, they opted to send us beach towels rather than t-shirts this time.  Honestly, that was probably a wise choice.  As much as I like Duran shirts (and I do!), it is always sort of a nightmare when ordering the tickets as I have to remember what sizes to put in and that adds another task before a ticket order can be finalized.  I can also imagine how much difficult it is for Duran’s team to have to make sure to put the right sizes in all of the packages.  As far as the beach towel goes, it matches the Paper Gods cover as you see below.

Beach Towel--Front
Beach Towel–Front

The towel is little less than 5 feet by 3 feet, which seems a bit on the small side.  That said, it is incredibly soft.  In fact, as I told Rhonda, it felt more like a soft blanket.  It has a much better feel to it than the store bought beach towels.  The colors and the images are incredibly vibrant as well.  I also think it is pretty cool that there is no reference to Duran Duran on the front.  The towel lets the symbols representing Duran’s history speak for themselves.  The back of the towel is pure white with a little tag that does identify it as Duran.  I love it!

Beach Towel Tag
Beach Towel Tag

Cocktail Hour:

I obviously can’t speak about the VIP cocktail hour yet as those happen with the shows themselves.  I did attend one at the Hollywood Bowl in the Fall and I have to admit to being a bit disappointed.  They offered a few types of appetizers to eat, some vegetarian friendly (thank you!) and some not.  The wine selection was fine.  My disappointment did not stem from anything the Duran team did or did not do.  It had more to do with the fact that we had just come from a meet-up at the Hard Rock that we had organized where music played, people mingled, took pictures, etc.  It was a more relaxed atmosphere at the Hard Rock and, yes, I’m sure that it helped that I knew more people at our meet-up than at the official VIP party.  That said, I’m looking forward to the ones I will be attending this summer.

Backstage Tour:

Like the cocktail party, those tours take place the night of the shows.  I did not attend one last time and I don’t have Platinum tickets to get one this time.  That said, we did have a guest blog talking about it after the fall leg, which you can read about here.  If anyone attends one this time, we welcome more guest blogs!

Communication and Shipping:

I wondered how these VIP packages would go this time around since most of the tickets were sold through Ticketmaster.  I was concerned that the merchandise wouldn’t come or wouldn’t be right.  Yet, the merch came without a problem.  I also appreciated the emails alerting me to the packages being shipped.  That said, part of me had to wonder if they could have been more efficient by putting all of the packages I purchased into one bigger box rather than multiple smaller boxes.  I wonder if that wouldn’t have saved them money for boxes and shipping.  Of course, I realize that a process like that would require more organization and could result in more errors.


The team surrounding this leg of the tour delivered on the VIP packages.  They arrived on time and with exactly what was promised.  In fact, I haven’t heard or seen one complaint!  The beach towel is super nice, too.  Now, I have to hope that the VIP parties deliver as well.


John Taylor in the Kafe!

Wow, I haven’t blogged in forever!  Months, even!  I planned to write a little blog post reflecting my thoughts, feelings and reflections regarding being gone from the blog, writing (or in our case, re-writing) the book, etc.  Fortunately for all of you, John Taylor pushed that blog aside by doing a little video Kafe (or 3!) in the members only section of DuranDuranMusic.  I suffered through (ha!) the videos and will share my thoughts about a few of the highlights here.  As always, I’m sure you all want to watch all of the videos yourself so make sure you are a member and head on over to DDM to see them. I should also point out that most of this Kafe consists of John answering questions sent via Twitter.

Personal Questions:

Book and CD for Summer:  John recommended the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which he describes as a “techno adventure story” with a “history of video games” and a bit of 80s culture.  Simon is now reading it as well.  Personally, this book has popped up a lot for me on recommended lists.  Maybe now is the time to check it out.  As for CD, he recommends d angelo.

Inspiration:  John broke this question down into musical inspiration and personal inspiration.  For musical inspiration, he looks to other musicians like Miles Davis.  Personal inspiration, he turns to his family, especially his parents to remind him to “do the right thing” and “be kind”.

Birthday Memory:  For John, he remembers understanding what a birthday is around 4 or 5 when people came over for a party in their backyard (or back garden in the UK).  He got a yellow truck and had cake!  Aww….

10 People at a Dinner Party:  He hates questions like this and calls it loaded, which I can understand why.  What if he doesn’t include someone?  What if he includes someone people don’t like?  He went with his family, the band and their significant others.  Katy forced him to remove the band, since he sees them all the time.  He said he would like to have his grandparents as he only knew one.  I can relate to that as I only really knew one grandparent (my mother’s mother) and have only vague memories of my grandpa (my mother’s father).  Yet, I never knew my dad’s parents at all and really wish I did being that they were immigrants from Poland and would have fascinating stories to share.

Go back in time to change something:  In general, he really wouldn’t as everything in his life led him to today as he is now very happy.  That said, he wished that he played more sports as a kid and didn’t skip school so much.  He doesn’t understand why he hated being in the classroom so much since he loves learning now.  As a teacher, I wished that he knew and could it explain it to me!  Maybe then I could figure out how to hook my kids who don’t want to come to class.

Now, before I move on to the band related questions, I wanted to just comment on how much I enjoyed his responses on these questions.  I smiled a lot and found myself agreeing quite a bit.  I didn’t as much when it came to the second type of questions.  (Hint:  This is a little foreshadowing.)

Band Related Questions:

Working with Nile and Bernard:  John reiterated statements about working with the two guys from Chic.  He called Nile “enthusiastic” and “supportive”.  Bernard was more “reserved” but “put him at ease”.

The Chauffeur (album version) or The Chauffeur (acoustic demo):  He likes the bass on the acoustic but the album version is a “masterpiece”.

Fondest video memory:  John talked about filming in the videos in Sri Lanka, stating that they had an amazing time.  He mentioned a “beautifully lit” scene at night as they rode an elephant through a city street.  Now, tell me that I’m not the only one seriously wishing that there was a DVD with deleted scenes from their videos?!

After the tour:  He plans for the Paper Gods Tour to last until next year as he hopes to take the tour to South America, Asia and the rest of Europe.  I, of course, am glad to hear that as there are many fans who haven’t had a chance to see them yet and would really like to!  He also said that he hoped the musical that he is working on with Nick gets to the next level.  Exciting!!!!

Most challenging new song:  Most of them he has got down by now, but he probably makes a few wrong notes a night on Last Night in the City since he is playing a synth and Paper Gods and Pressure Off are both “tricky”.  That said, he described What Are the Chances as a “deeply fucking felt emotional song” that he loves playing and loves to hear Simon sing.  Aww…Then, he states that they would love to add more but they are actually cutting the setlist some as the shows will be 90 minutes for this next leg since they will be playing with Chic and Tokimonsta.  Okay.  Here is where I wished he said more and explained it so that I could understand.  Why is there a time limit exactly?  If the venue requires a cut off time, why not move up the start time to play more?  Will they play longer at shows that Tokimonsta isn’t playing at?  Why have three artists on the bill?  Speaking only for myself, I am going to shows to hear Duran Duran play.  I want them to play as long as possible and I don’t think I’m alone in that.  As a customer, I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.  I know that is already a lot of grumbling within the fan community about the shorter sets, lack of variety and the expensive tickets.  This statement doesn’t help.

Would you let the fans decide the setlist:  One of the things about the job that he really loves is building a show and trying to figure out what song works where, next to what, etc. and that he wouldn’t want to let that go.  I can understand that.  I wouldn’t want to let go of a lot of the things we do here, if readers asked to take over.  I get control freaks.  😀  Then, he goes on to say that it would be a lot of work to get songs ready to be played for a fan made list.  Speaking again for myself, while I get that, I also think the pay off would be great!  People would come out in droves for fan created set lists!  Heck, maybe, they don’t want to do an entire set that way, but would about having fans pick out five or six songs that can be rotated in?  I just think it would build committed fans’ enthusiasm, make for better shows and probably sell more tickets.

As someone who has tickets to a lot of shows and who was using the summer tour to reward hard work we did on writing our book, I want to be excited for the shows.  Yet, it is hard to after hearing about the shorter setlist or the lack of variety in songs.  The thing is that I know myself.  I know that if I go into a show being a little less excited, it affects how much fun I have and how good the show is.  Past experience has taught me that.  I want to go in being as excited as possible.  It will help me but it will help those around me be excited, too.  The optimist in me hopes that they rethink these decisions between now and the start of the US date.



Southampton Common People Review

Another great review to share from a guest blogger!  Thanks so much for submitting reviews, our readers love them!! -R
By Carron Stacey
Six months ago, my Duranie friend asks if I want to go to this festival in Southampton to see Duran Duran.  I thought to myself, it’s just before my birthday, what a great idea.  We decided to upgrade to VIP tickets! Together, we’ve seen them three times. The first – no John sadly, but still good. The second – in Birmingham, fantastic to see JT at last (he’s always been my fav, my friend preferring SLB). The third – extremely special in St Andrews football ground. We were so close and I was pregnant with my son Ben, dreaming JT was the father!
Fast forward to this gig. We are so excited. Recovering from tonsillitis, I didn’t even know last week if I was going to be able to make it. We must’ve looked a type in the VIP Nook. I don’t know, 40-45 year old mums on a day out? Must be here to see DD. We met some lovely ladies with whom we shared the event, and a group of Southampton couples, with whom we bantered about Pompey -v- The Scummers etc. Yes we’d had a few drinks.
In the VIP Nook area, the toilet blocks are separated by hessian screens. My friend returned from a trip there and said “I’m sure you can see where they’ll go on stage from.” With that, we ran out before they came on. We peered through the small squares in the hessian screen. Lo and behold, there they were! I took a few pictures of them getting ready, listening to the crowd going wild for them. I was almost spellbound, definitely starstruck. I’ve seen you on the stage and I’ve seen you on TV (see what I did there?) but there was something mesmerizing about watching them prepare. Psych up. Whatever. The crowd was crazy and this next bit was worth the extra payment for the VIP area – I saw JT shake his hands together in the air and genuinely look excited at the anticipating audience! It was amazing that he (they) still get turned on by this. That it’s not just ‘”oh some municipal festival or whatever”. This is a DD gig with massive fans and casual fans alike, all cheering their hearts out to see you. I shouted to the sax player “See you in a minute!” He said, “I can’t see you!” and I shouted, “Yes, you can, look here’s my foot” and stuck my foot under the screen. He laughed! They climbed the stairs, we ran back to our bench.
Now I must just take the time to explain what sort of fan I am. I am not, unlike the two lovely ladies we met, uberfans. They’ve seen them so many times. Met them at book signings and on the Eurostar, being asked for headache tablets! They know where JT’s mansion is. I don’t know even know all the words to Notorious, but I think I can fudge it. I certainly don’t know Sunrise off by heart and I haven’t (the shame) listened to Paper Gods, their new album. I am a huge fan, but only really of the first three albums. Duran Duran, spawning the singles Planet Earth and Girls on Film, is the best. I know every song, every lyric, every drum beat, every synthesized Nick note… Rio is just perfection. I know this like I know the first album too. It doesn’t sound dated even today. Seven and the Ragged Tiger, well I can’t say this is a “great” album and it does sound a bit dated, but I loved it at the time and so it remains on the list. Notorious was out in 1986, but by this time, I had gone all Smiths and Cocteau Twins. I do like the funkiness of Notorious and Skin Trade, but I don’t even think I bought it. I think I just preferred the New Romantic stage. Oh and the Look-At-Our-Ostentatious-Video phase.
So, the setlist. Well first off, Simon seems to have had the same illness as me! His voice was croaky and he could be seen coughing off-mike quite a lot. Fair play to him, I’d have expected him to rely on his backing singers more, but he didn’t. He sounded better than I’d heard him before, in spite of his croakiness. No duff notes there Simon! Paper Gods to start off. Wild Boys – always a crowd pleaser. Hungry Like the Wolf – ditto. View to a Kill – loved the Bond theme before. Later when introducing the band, SLB said of himself “The name’s Bon. Simon Le Bon.” Come Undone – I like it but not as much as my friend, it’s her favourite. Last Night in the City – a new one for me, quite good! Notorious – funky as flip. Pressure Off – a newbie but I do sort of know it. Planet Earth/Space Oddity – I’d forgotten they were doing this. It worked well and the crowd appreciated the nod to one of DD’s heroes, Bowie. Ordinary World – a crowd favourite, but not really one of mine. I Don’t Want Your Love – OK. White Lines – they get a lot of stick for this cover version but do you know what? We all love singing it so why can’t they have some fun? Sunrise/New Moon on Monday – obviously I was mostly impressed with the New Moon on Monday bit! Girls on Film – awesome. Their encore – I missed what SLB said as I’d fallen off the bench and launched into the man in front at that point, but it was something like “Without Prince, (our?) music wouldn’t sound like it does”. We held our lighters, I mean phone torches, aloft in memory during Save a Prayer. Rio – the last one. Such energy!
As we were on this hammock/bench thing, we had a great view of the whole festival field. Everyone’s hands were in the air during the 90 minute set. They were awesome to look at (not just the band but the whole set up), the backing singers weren’t annoying like sometimes they can be. They looked part of it. Simon worked the audience. There were youngsters behind us singing every word. Older people singing along. Older couples slow dancing to the hits. I kept catching the eye of a woman dancing near us, and at certain points, it was like we were talking in shorthand about a shared history we’d never had. Who would’ve thought DD were a festival band? They were last night. Of course I’d have liked more old hits, but the whole show was slick, energetic and current. No 80s throwbacks here. The whole atmosphere was enhanced by sharing the experience with our new Duranie friends; we just sang along and screamed like teenagers. I took a blurred photo of us in mid scream. That summed it up. What a fantastic night.
Just as we’d seen them enter the stage, we ran back to our peep-hole to see them exit. We filmed with our phones over the top of the screen this time and watched them descend the steps, to be chaperoned in to their waiting cars. First Roger, then Nick (I always love his lip gloss), the guitarist and sax (sorry I don’t know their names – Dom?), John and then Simon. I shouted to Simon, “Hope your voice gets better.” And this next bit made my night. As he was putting his jacket on, he gave me the peace sign. Swoon. Do you know, I think I may trade my allegiance … JT gave me nothing but SLB gave me a V! I am 10 again.

photo courtesy of Carron Stacey
photo courtesy of Carron Stacey

Carron Stacey has loved Duran Duran since their first album came out when she was 10. JT is her favourite, though she may switch allegiance to SLB after their latest gig. She adores the first three albums; after that she went all goth (she can muddle through at gigs though). Carron lives in the south of England, blogs regularly about being mum to an embarrassed 10-year-old boy and teaches French and computing.

We Fans Choose the Setlist Only In Dreams

This week I’ve seen a few tweets from Anna letting us know that she’s getting back into Duran Duran touring mode, posting songs and evening mentioning informal rehearsals. The band themselves have been very, very quiet – only Dom poking his head up long enough to post yet another RIP tweet, this time for Sir George Martin.

As I mentioned, Anna has posted a couple of songs on her FB page this week, and naturally those always seem to get responses from fans hoping out loud that they’ll play one song or another. Not much changes from tour to tour – fans want it all and then some. I would imagine the band could play for hours and we’d still be crying for more, wouldn’t we?

Just today, Anna posted Only In Dreams – a song that was not played here in the US for their tour in October.  I realize that some readers may believe I keep track of what is played and when, but the truth is that unless they’ve omitted Hungry Like the Wolf, added Secret Oktober, or played something else I haven’t heard in a while, I’m probably not going to notice, and certainly not when it’s a show I didn’t attend. So I’d forgotten that they’d played Only In Dreams on their recent UK tour in December as I thought to myself that it’s another song I’d really love to hear live. Just as I’d posted that though, another fan or two said that they didn’t think the song “worked” live and that there are plenty other, better songs, on the album.

First of all, I chuckled when I saw the comments because, let’s face it, if you’re Duran Duran – there’s really no winning this setlist thing. People like ME are always going to say they’ve heard certain songs entirely too much, people like some of YOU are going to say that it’s not a Duran Duran show unless you hear <insert any hit they’ve ever had here>. There’s no winning because someone is always going to be pissed off that they didn’t play one thing or another. And truthfully, that’s our problem, isn’t it?

I’ve spent more than my fair share of writing time campaigning for one song or another – I use my platform well (whether it’s effective or not!), but the reality is that the band is gonna play what they want and we’re going to like it and keep going, or we’re not.  And if I’m any proof, it turns out that many of us are going to grit our teeth and sing our way through as many shows as we can manage each tour.

Secondly though, I thought about what the person said about Only In Dreams not really “working” live. Interestingly enough, I saw more than one person mention that it’s a relatively slow song and  wanes in energy. That can be a hazard for live shows, I suppose. I remember seeing the Red Carpet Massacre tour, and there were a couple of songs from that album that created something of a vacuum in the venue, sucking the energy right out of the room. Once that happens, it’s very difficult to get the audience back “up”. It’s a vicious circle beyond that, because the band feeds off of the crowd’s energy and vice-versa. For me, Only In Dreams is a song I love because it reminds me so much of what it is like to be a fan, but that doesn’t necessarily translate well to others in the audience, and with the song being slower than say, “Pressure Off”…. Well, I can understand if it’s not the set list.

Another song that is often mentioned and hasn’t been performed (to my knowledge anyway!) is The Universe Alone. The song is huge, epic, and probably the masterpiece off of that album. I don’t even know if it is a song they can perform – but it is certainly one that they should. I could go on like this all day, but only the band knows what they are willing and ready to play, and I know that no matter what they play, many of us will be ready to tell them they should have played X, Y & Z instead!

So, if you could have them add a song or two from Paper Gods that hasn’t been played yet, what would you suggest and why?


Your Pride Is Dead: Buying Concert Tickets

I have a problem.  Rhonda and I have a problem.  It is March, which means that I’m ready to start touring planning.  I’m ready to figure out what hotels we are going to stay at and where we should host meet-ups.  The tour binder is just sitting on my desk silently screaming at me to start getting it ready! Of course, I say all of this knowing that our shows aren’t until July.  We won’t be attending any of the shows in March and April, much to our dismay.  The decisions for this tour weren’t easy but we opted to sit out during the spring in order to do more in the summer when I don’t have to worry about work at all.  It will be beautiful except that we have a problem.

Based on my profession, the problem is clearly not about work.  July is perfect for teachers like me.  At times, I have classes, workshops, etc. in June and August finds me getting ready for the upcoming year.  If the problem doesn’t have anything to do with work, what is the deal?  Money?  Well, the problem is connected with money.  Ah, heck, I might as well just spill it.  We are really hoping to go to the show in Toronto.  It is a city that I have always wanted to visit and it would allow us time to hang with our friend, Heather.  Yet, if you remember when those tickets went on sale, things did not go very well for us.  I was the one assigned to get those tickets and became SO frustrated by the lack of choices.  We couldn’t afford the Platinum or Gold VIP Packages.  We were aiming for Bronze, but no good seats in that section came up.  I tried everything that day.  I refreshed.  I tried looking for tickets via the Ticketmaster “use seat map to find tickets” option.  I also tried to have Ticketmaster “find me tickets” option.  I told my students to focus all of their thoughts and energy on Ticketmaster to give me good tickets that day.  Nothing worked.  In the end, I chose not to buy anything.  It just felt like WAY too much money for crappy seats.

At the time, I felt confident that I made the right call.  I had a limit in terms of how much I was willing to spend and I had a limit about how far away the tickets would be for me to buy.  The fact that I stuck to my limits seemed to prove that I wasn’t an emotional slave to my fandom.  No, I could still use logic and I could stay strong.  What a load of bullshit.  It has been a couple of months since that date of presale and now I find myself regretting that decision.  Desperation seems to be growing.  We still want to go to the Toronto show.  The question then is…how/where do we get tickets?  What do I have to do to get decent seats?!

I talk a good game.  I’m logical.  I’m in control.  I’m lying…I want my Duran Duran tickets, dang it!!!!  What do I have to do to get tickets to Toronto?  Do I need to sell my first born?  Oh wait…I don’t have kids.  Would my cat suffice?  He is kinda useless but I guess he can be cute?!  Do I have to do some sort of strange fandom ceremony where I burn some candles or stare at Duran Duran pictures while listening to Paper Gods over and over and over again?  I could do that!  Is that what it would take?  What are my other options?!  Anyone have the Devil on speed dial?  Maybe that would work?!

Of course, I do know that there might be some online sources for tickets.  Ticketmaster might have tickets and I have checked but…it is still the same problem.  No decent seats for the cost.  Oh, I could buy front row tickets there for over $1200 each.  Uh…that might be a little (LOT) over my budget.  (Who the hell really could afford that?!)  What about the 10th row seat on the far right that is selling for $495?  Uh…no.  That seems ridiculously priced for the location.  Am I wrong?!  (Don’t answer that…I don’t really want to know what you think of my insanity!)  So, it seems like Ticketmaster is not an option. What about those other resale outlets or ticket brokers?  eBay?

I admit that I have purchased tickets through both StubHub and eBay, but each time I do I am nervous.  How do I really know if those are real tickets?!  What if they aren’t?!  Then what?  I wouldn’t know until we get to Toronto.  That said, I would try if those sites had decent seats for the money.  Like those tickets on Ticketmaster, they are either really expensive or less than desirable seats.  Then what?  Ticket brokers?  I have never used ticket brokers.  On one hand, they bother me as they probably took the good seats when the tickets went on sale to begin with and now they are jacking up the price.  On the other hand, they might have tickets we would be interested in.  Can we trust them?  I have no idea.  Anyone know?!  Anyone have advice about which ones can be trusted?  Anyone have any other suggestion about where we could get tickets?  I’m happy to perform some weird Duranie ceremony if it would help…