Tag Archives: Paper Gods Tour 2015

Blog Post 2015-2016: I Don’t Want To Wake Up

I chose the blog below because for me, everything I describe holds up extremely well, even two years later. 

As you will hear and see in the video we are going to post later this week, I think there have been a lot of changes in the way Amanda and I see blogging these days. That said, the one thing that has not ever changed is the basic fact that we are still fans of this band. 

I hope I never forget that night at Agua Caliente for as long as I live. There are times when I am really feeling down, or flat-out stressed out, and the memory of that night makes me smile. I can remember just as they walked off stage, and I triumphantly looked at Amanda and exclaimed “I QUIT!” – loud enough for a certain guitar player to hear, turn around, and grin – because I knew I’d never have another show like that one.

Amanda and I have had a great ride since that night. Not everything has gone according to the plan we had in our heads, but then again – nothing ever does. In any case, if I had to sum up the Paper Gods era – nothing does it better for me than this post.   -R

Originally posted October 12, 2015

Has it really already been a week since I’ve been back home from this Duran Duran tour?!? I don’t even know where the time went. On one hand I feel as though I got back into the swing of things very quickly and feels very much as though I never left. On the other, I can’t believe a week has already gone by.

In many ways I let Amanda take the helm in describing the tour and how the shows were for us – she and I are typically on the same page when it comes to those things, and I knew she would convey exactly how I felt. On the other, I summed up my feelings about that 3-show “tour” with one tweet almost immediately after I walked out of the theatre at Agua Caliente.

“I may as well I may as well stop touring right now because I will never have a better show experience than tonight. Wow.”

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating here again that Amanda and I purchase our own tickets to the shows. We don’t ask the band for tickets.  I had a few people insinuate or flat-out ask, and while it’s a lovely thought that some people believe we matter, I think Amanda and I are well-aware that to 99.99% of the people involved with the band, we’re just a couple of fans who write a silly blog. We get it, and we don’t overstate or over-think our importance. In any case, that night at Agua Caliente, Amanda and I were in for a huge treat. We knew we had front row, but aside from that – we didn’t know much else. Neither of us had been to the venue and we were honestly more concerned with where our seats would be (meaning would we be in front of Simon, John, Nick, or Dom) than where the seats were in regards to the stage.

 As we walked down to our seats at Agua Caliente, we counted the chairs from the aisle and discovered we were right in front of Simon. I mean RIGHT in front. Then we realized there were no barricades between us and the stage. Finally, we quietly marveled that during the show, we could seriously lean our elbows ON the stage. I couldn’t believe it, and to be honest, I still can’t. As show time grew closer, our friends Krista and Sandy took their seats right next to us, and I knew before the band even took the stage that it was going to be the show experience of a lifetime.

It very much was – including being in the “spit zone” (Thank you Krista for taking the brunt of it…willingly…as I ducked behind you.  Yes, I did see you chuckling at our antics, Nicholas. I’m going to continue pretending that Simon did NOT veer ever so slightly in the direction of Amanda and I…We sort of had it coming though, didn’t we?)  There were so many moments during that show for me. Seeing Nick smile during Hungry Like the Wolf (I was a very good sport, thankyouverymuch…epitome of a well-behaved fan!!), watching Simon walking to the front of the stage like a man on a mission with a mouth-full of water as I thought to myself, “Oh boy…here we go…DUCK!”, having John and Dom flank either side of Amanda and I during Planet Earth, watching Roger twirl his drumstick during Sunrise…having Dom come over directly in front of me to play several times throughout the show, and shaking some of their hands at the end of the set.

Can I take a minute to write about the end of their set?? After the finale, they walked to the front of the stage as they typically do to say goodbye. I’m right there, basically becoming good friends with their feet, and examining their shoes and socks. (Nice striped socks, Dom…liked them with the leather pants!) I wish I could properly explain how I felt in that moment, but the words don’t really match the feeling. It was as though electricity was running through my body. I mean, I was inches from these men that I have adored since I was ten years old. I turn 45 next month. That’s a very, very long time. It was as though I couldn’t quite believe what my eyes and ears were telling me as I stood there, frozen to the floor. I didn’t even reach up to shake hands with them, because I couldn’t. I just smiled at them, tried to clap, mostly just stood there in shock (and awe!).

Nick stood in front of me for what felt like a long time, but I couldn’t even move my hand to shake his. It wasn’t out of disrespect, just the opposite really. I meant it when I said that my head couldn’t quite make sense of it at the time. I’m still not sure if I can. I did notice a faint, very quick glimmer of, well…what…recognition maybe??…in their faces as they would smile down at us and make eye contact. I couldn’t even let myself think about that at the time. I had difficulty just getting past the notion that I was standing there right directly in front of them. Yes, I’ve been writing this blog for five years now, and yes, I suppose that by a lot of accounts, I’ve had far more “experiences” with the band than many fans out there. However, I’ve never been right in front of them like this. Not in this way. It felt incredibly surreal. Daily Duranie or not, no matter how many readers we have, or the size of our real audience, or our post-reach on Facebook – I am still a fan. That’s exactly how I felt that night. I am still a fan like anyone else. I needed that.

Do you know what I was thinking about in that moment as they were all standing at the front of the stage?  I was remembering how I would sit on the edge of my bed, in my “Summertime Green” painted bedroom (Nasty, horrid bright green color, with orange carpeting no less.). I would stare at the biggest poster of them I had, which happened to be on my door, and wonder what it would be like to be right in front of them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d write about them someday, or be in the front row at one of their shows (much less two or three), or actually KNOW what it felt like to be in front of them. Never.  How do you soak up the answers to 35-years worth of daydreams in less than two hours?

As they were leaving, Dom reached down and grabbed my hand and it was only in that second I kind of came back into present long enough to realize that he had my hand – only for a split second – but again, I’m trying to describe how I felt at the time. I’m pretty sure I shook Roger’s hand too, but I can’t remember now.

I don’t think I will ever have a show quite like that again. That thought both exhilarates me and makes me wistful all at once. I know what it’s like to be center “elbows on the stage” front row. I’m incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to experience those feelings. Even if my time never comes again – which likely not – I won’t let the memory slip my mind. I really can’t see what could possibly top those seats, and so when I jokingly yelled out, “I QUIT!!” after the last of the hand squeezes from the band took place and they all left the stage area, it was with the thought that I’d reached the pinnacle of what a fan could really experience.  There isn’t much more to “want”, aside from more of the same, maybe.

Almost oddly, I sit here today typing this thinking to myself that it’s a good thing that Amanda and I have had the chance to do so much, at least from the standpoint of writing and understanding ourselves as fans. I’ve sat in the very LAST row at a show (my very first one), and now I’ve sat in the very front row. I’ve been to the UK, seen Birmingham, walked Cheapside (If you do not know what Cheapside is, we need to talk. Seriously…email me!), had Simon stand directly in front of me, eye-to-eye and explain why the shows cannot go on as planned. I’ve lived through Twitter, Facebook, and message boards. I have had canceled gigs, various guitarists, and favorite band members leaving only to return 20-some years later. I have watched MTV, read magazines like Star Hits and Tiger Beat, as well as rely on getting news solely from the radio and other fans. I’ve completely missed tours, been disappointed with albums, and overjoyed by others. I don’t know if I’ve done it ALL (actually, I know for sure that I have not…), but I know that I’ve experienced a lot, and those adventures, moments, and nuggets of knowledge come in very handy when you’re writing a fan blog.

I know what it is like to be a fan, and I continue to walk the fine line between writing about it, running a blog, and experiencing it as anyone else might. Amanda and I always say we know what fans want because we ARE fans…and that’s the truth. I only hope we continue to cover the things that matter with the same amount of love, affection and excitement as we do right in this moment. I’m looking forward to planning the next set of Duran Duran tour dates, meet-ups, parties, and hopefully a reasonable road trip as we witness the upcoming UK dates from afar.

-R

Think Yourself Lucky: Some thoughts on this tour

I’ve been thinking about the Paper Gods tour, or at least the shows that I attended. I have fantastic memories from the past few years, that is for sure. There really isn’t anything like seeing Duran Duran on stage, and being able to go to these shows with my best friend, knowing that however insane I seem – she usually gets it – makes it all the better.

I am pretty lucky that I was able to see Duran Duran play at the Hollywood Bowl, for example. Although I’m not a huge fan of the venue for rock concerts (the crowds are ridiculous and it takes a special sort of patience to handle the parking and traffic issues), seeing Duran Duran there was a dream. To begin with, it was the first show of the tour (for me), not counting Jimmy Kimmel the evening before.  Our seats were amazing – we splurged for second row center tickets, and I just remember how excited I was to be there. We had our friend from Canada with us, and the memories of giggling in the car after the show as I drove over the Grapevine will never leave me.  Amanda read me texts from another friend of ours who had gotten into to the after party with the band, and I was over the moon about the scene she described, wishing I had been there. I still can’t believe I drove all the way from my house, up to Berkeley, then back again, the very next day.

Amanda and I saw a lot of shows this time around. We’ve never done this many before, and I don’t regret a single one.  My bank account does, but that’s alright. You only live once, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. I did turn down a few shows—Amanda went without me to DC over New Years, for example—and while sure I wish I could have been there, I also wasn’t ready for the chaos and anger that would have caused here at home. It’s a tradeoff, and not an easy one at that.

When I start thinking about all of the miles and driving and travel—it begins to blow my mind just a little. I’ve gotten to see some parts of this country I’d never seen before, and I even got to go to Canada! I’ve also met a lot of new people, made new friends, and perhaps even made a new pal out of someone I’ve known for a very long time.

I toasted with Simon, saw Nick laugh at me more times than I care admit (I CAN’T HELP ROLLING MY EYES AT HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF – I AM SORRY BUT I TRY MY BEST TO BEHAVE!!), ducked from Simon-spit 16 times (we’re still winning that war, Simon!!), and exchanged smiles with other band members countless times. I can’t even count the amount of moments I would look at Amanda and we’d share a huge grin, because we were in exactly the kind of “heaven” we love most.  She and I made fun of this band at every single opportunity, laughed at ourselves so much our sides hurt, and fell more in “love” with each one of them every single day. Yeah, they’re band members. Celebrities. People. Just like us. We adore them even when we’re calling them dorks. Our readers don’t always understand that, and some really get on us about teasing them – but Amanda and I don’t feel as though we have to apologize to them for our antics. Something tells me that they not only get it, they really kind of like it! Rock on!

No, they probably don’t know me, but they made this tour worth every last mile I traveled, and a lot of the turmoil that went along with my absence from home. I don’t regret a single moment…well, maybe aside from the moments when we should have zigged instead of zagged. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, you’ll need to re-watch last Monday’s video blog)

Then there’s the way I ended this tour – with a show in San Francisco. It was GA, we were pretty far back, and yet I can honestly say I had a great time. I’d forgotten just how much better the sound can be when you’re back away from the stage, and the crowd energy was infectious. The thing is, of course we wanted to be up closer to the front. Yeah, I’m not afraid to say that I wanted to rock out with Dom one last time. But, we made the best of where we were, stayed present in the moment and danced like crazy. Some ridiculous part of me thinks that he still saw me out there, having a great time. And I did. The one thing I can tell you I thought about that night over and over again, was that I was so lucky to be there.

There I was, standing with my best friend, smiling so hard my cheeks hurt, watching the band we adore do their thing. About 30 seconds into the show, it stopped mattering where we were standing, or that there was a really rude, and very tall kid and his also-tall girlfriend standing directly in front of me, positioned so that there was no way I could see past them at all (he was rude for other reasons, not because he was in front of me).  I was just happy to be there one last night. I don’t know if I’ll always be able to be there, and if nothing else – the past couple of months has taught me that there really are NO guarantees in life. You get whatever you get. I would peek in between the sea of arms and camera phones to catch glimpses of Dom, Simon and John, and I just danced.  Pure bliss. And yeah, I’m pretty sure that by the end of the show, I got a wink or two from Dom. I can’t imagine he really saw me, but I smiled in return. We waved to Simon, Nick, John and Roger, and refused to acknowledge that for us, the tour had ended.

These are my favorite people, and I regret nothing. My two girls are performers. Heather is a dancer/choreographer, and my youngest is a singer and piano player, although she’s only nine so who knows what she’ll really do when she’s grown. I always tell each of them the same thing when they’re about to perform, and that’s to leave it ALL out on the stage. Don’t hold back. It’s the only advice I know to give. The only reason I know to give it is because I wouldn’t want them to live life the way I did for so long before I started doing all of this. I only half-lived, and it wasn’t enough. So this tour, I did the shows I wanted to do, and I LIVED. I left it all out there, no regrets, heart on the sleeve, and all of that. Nobody should wonder how I feel about this band, and particularly about the people within—whether or not they’re members, or supporting players.

Those memories are gonna have to last me until I-have-no-idea-when, so I’ll take them.  I am lucky.

-R

Question of the Day: Thursday, July 7, 2017

I apologize for yesterday’s video mix-up.  I thought I was so cool that I posted the question of the day from a bus on the way to the airport in the dark at 5 am.  Alas, I apparently copied the wrong link.

Let’s try it again with the right clips!  Which live version of Wild Boys do you like better:  2011 All You Need Is Now Tour or 2015 Paper Gods Tour?

2015 Year End Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Tuesday brings a  2015 year-end Katy Kafe with John Taylor – this time in video! Let me properly set the stage: John is sitting at his computer in a cozy sort of room with white paneling. There is an upright piano (complete with obligatory metronome) sitting against the wall to the back right of him, and above the paneling around the room, there are figurines of some sort. (To be honest it reminds me very much of a room at my grandmothers old house, and this shelf is exactly where she would display her salt and pepper shakers. I’m pretty sure John isn’t the type to collect salt and pepper shakers [???], and my eyesight isn’t THAT great so I couldn’t tell what they were. As I continue typing, I’m starting to think that perhaps it’s a little weird for me to even notice…but whatever. Fan blog. Need I say more??)  As I further considered the setting, I was thinking “seems like a den”, and at that same time, John mentions that Katy has caught him in his den.  And for you John girls out there – he’s wearing a fedora-type hat (although the brim doesn’t seem wide enough to be called a fedora, but it’s along those lines.) So there you have it!

UK Tour

He recalls Simon saying that this tour was the best ever to the audience on the last night of the UK tour. He said that he meant to ask him later on if he really meant it because he was feeling similar. “Every show was great. No throw-aways. No one lost their voice.” He continues by mentioning the audiences, “The crowds this year have been on another level.”  John says that this past year, he’s felt very loved, unconditionally, which has been encouraging.

2015

In retrospect, he feels very good about 2015, saying that the band still seeks success in a number of avenues, and that touring does help to achieve part of that. “Every night, getting positive feed back. [It is] A validation of what we do.”  John speaks of the press, partially in answer to the subject of whether or not he is surprised that in 2015, Duran Duran is still touring and creating albums. He surmises that perhaps, had the band not shot straight to the stratosphere, but instead had a much more steady rise and build up, the press may have seen them and the band’s future differently.

The album comes up naturally in conversation several times over the course of the Kafe, as John refers to the two years the band spent in the studio writing and recording, “Pulling hair, but still having the inkling that the team still has something to give.” Conversely, touring isn’t all “the band”. The audience has something to add to that conversation. He explains that he isn’t like Nick – he likes the studio, but loves being onstage, “I want to perform.” For John, the albums are produced so that they have material to keep the performances fresh. He talks about how on the UK tour they integrated video into the show and that they’re all “still learning and putting it all together and it has been fun. It hasn’t always been that way. We are enjoying who we are.”  He uses a very interesting sort of analogy to drive his point home, talking about how you can look over the course of the band’s (or anyone’s) career or life in photos and see the various “detours” (as he put it) and you can say “Oh yeah…there’s an apparent midlife crisis happening there.”  But right now, they know exactly who they are.

As a commentary, I found his statement interesting because there are still plenty of people out there that feel Paper Gods was written with the idea of attracting a wider audience (as opposed to just their core fan base) in mind. Katy feels that Paper Gods is emblematic of who they are and their career at this point in time – yet many others disagree, saying that the band is trying to be something they are not.  It’s clear John very much believes that Paper Gods is an accurate representation of who Duran Duran is in 2015.  I tend to feel, after blogging and engaging with the fan base for the past five years, there is a certain faction within who believe unless the band is recreating the sound from the first album, Rio and perhaps even Seven and the Ragged Tiger to a limited extent, they’re not being true to themselves. I suppose to those fans, Paper Gods is a tough sell, which is a shame. I’m sure many would disagree, but that is my take-away after having written and observed the fan base for the better part of a decade, for what it may be worth. 

Favorite album of 2015

Since the Kafe is happening in John’s den, we have the added benefit of John being able to pull the albums directly from his collection. His first “grab” is Julia Holter’s Have You In My Wilderness.  (Is this an appropriate time to mention that I’ve never heard of Julia Holter but I’m going to Spotify right now to find her?? Two songs in and I’m sold, btw – it’s a great album for relaxing, which is EXACTLY what I need right now. Thanks John! This is one reason why I love John Taylor and miss him from social media. He feeds me new music discoveries.) He goes back to the record pile and grabs another – this time coming back with Bjork – I think he held up Biophilia but I’m not positive and forgot to make note. One last grab, this time holding up Beach House’s Depression Cherry.  He seems to like female lead singers, as Katy mentions. Lately, he’s been in to them, he agrees.  He also lists Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and Hot Line Bling as other favorites for the year.

Favorite Movie of 2015

Without skipping a beat, John announces that Mad Max is his favorite movie of the year. Katy questions him a little about the modern Mad Max, wondering if it is at all like the original. After limited discussion it is agreed that it is its own animal. As a runner-up, John mentions The Clouds of Sils Maria (with Juliette Binoche and Kristin Steward).

Favorite Television of 2015

Finally a topic that causes John to take pause. He contemplates, and says he’s watched a lot of TV this year – mentioning that he just finished bingeing on four seasons of Scandal. Katy assumes he’s watching that with Gela, but no…John is watching this by himself. I chuckle, because well…it is also a favorite of mine.

Favorite Book of 2015

John read Jonathan Franzen’s book Purity, which he liked…but that caused him to read his book Freedom, which he LOVED. He mentions that not only is he not a fast reader, he doesn’t finish a lot of the books he starts. I struggle with that myself these days, sadly. Then he grabs a book from his desk by Ian McDonald called Revolution in the Head, which is an incredibly accurate breakdown of Beatles Songs and the minutia of how the band wrote and recorded them, calling it his bible.

2015 in a word

Complexity. “Everything is a grey area”

That pub show we all wish we’d been invited to…

John likened the experience to being in a punk band. He summarizes the feeling that night by calling it confrontational. Keep in mind the pub had about 120 people in it, and the band was quite literally playing in the faces of their guests (again, wishing my invite hadn’t been lost in the mail…) On a typical stage, you don’t have that same confrontational aspect. He talks about how he’s standing there, weapon in hand (that’d be his bass guitar of course), and he mentions the heat in the pub and that everyone is sweaty…and how he really enjoys those experiences every once in a while because it keeps the performance from getting too sanitized (or as I like to call it, “choreographed”, which I can definitely see being a hazard of the large stage show.) “There are no small stages.”

Looking ahead to 2016

I find it fascinating how differently the band sees next year. They all agree that yes, they’re touring – but where Simon and Roger talk about the entire year being a “touring year”, John mentions more than once that it’s really only 3-4 months at this point.  He talks about the two months of touring in the US, saying that it is very ambitious for them, and that he wants to get through it “peacefully”, meaning that no one gets sick or loses their voice or anything like that. He continues, saying that they are in a great position right now and that the show has “just begun”. He doesn’t know what opportunities it will bring, only that it will bring some. Katy does ask him about the possibility of doing other shows around the world, but I have to say – at least from my point of view as a listener/observer – John seemed hesitant to commit to more. I got the feeling that perhaps, at least at the point of this Kafe, nothing had been decided yet. Couple that with what Simon had mentioned about not knowing where the band was or was not going next year – I would venture to guess that beyond the US, the band has not necessarily committed to more dates as of this writing. Perhaps it all comes down to money (funding) and finding the right promoter, and perhaps the band really just does not know what is in the process of being organized. After all, this isn’t a band who gets involved in the day-to-day tour development. They handle their end, and someone else manages the business, which makes sense.

The subject naturally turns to the world at hand. “Glad we’re out there publicly at this time.” With the events from Paris and elsewhere, there is a lot of fear out there, being “stoked by the media and who knows who else.” Katy talks about how she doesn’t necessarily want to take her kids into the city or on public transportation (A feeling that as a fellow parent, I completely, yet sadly, share…and I am not that way normally.) “People are scared,” John surmises, “and looking for reassurance. You’re gonna get it from us.” He explains that he never takes any of the freedom with which they are able to play in the UK and “the country that embraced us – the U.S.” for granted. I like it when he describes it as always going out there and playing as though it were their last show, because for their fans, that’s exactly how many feel each night.  “We’re gonna fight to keep those lines of communication open.”

Beautifully, John describes that horrible night in Paris for music lovers as having their bubble popped. It really was like that. The concert hall (or pub, bar, arena, etc.) is the escape for many fans. It is utopia. To have that feeling destroyed – well, it rocks one to the very core, doesn’t it?

Even so, John is really looking forward to getting out there. He talks about one of the greatest moments of his life being in Denver as he looked out onto the stage to see Chic playing, knowing that Duran Duran were to follow.

I have no doubt that Duran Duran fans look forward to 2016 with the same images in mind and excitement in their heart.

-R