Tag Archives: Paper Gods tour 2016

Don’t fake it when it comes to making money

One comment I’ve heard over and over about the band is that they probably laugh all the way to the bank. Yeah, some of us feel as though the shows are of good value at $300-400 (and sometimes more) for those great VIP seats, but I see plenty of comments otherwise, too.  Even I’ve had my “OK seriously guys, how much more cash do you need??” moments.

It’s hard. I love Duran Duran. YOU love Duran Duran. We want shows. We want to have great seats. We also need to eat, pay bills, send children to college, drive cars, and so on. While I know that there are plenty of other acts out there wanting $400 just to get in the door to the venue, much less sit near the front, I also know that it’s painful to buy more than a show at a time to see Duran Duran unless I don’t care where I sit.

Let me be clear: I CARE.  I care too much, as my husband might say.

It’s easy to throw an “off the cuff” comment out on Twitter or Facebook about how we’re paying for their retirement, or that we’ve paid for their kids’ boarding school. Naturally, most of those comments are made in jest. For instance, I realize it takes more than my dollars to buy a Picasso or an Aston Martin.  I often wondered what kind of mansions they all must own or the lives they must lead when they’re not on stage. Even as an adult, I didn’t start really considering their costs to actually operate until around the All You Need is Now tour.

It can’t be cheap.  Think about all of the people they’ve had work with the band. Those people don’t work for free. Timbaland, Mark Ronson, even Nile….all of them are in or have been in demand over the years. Collaborations, even with Janelle Monae or Lindsey Lohan, couldn’t have been for free. All of that studio time, the mixing, the engineering, mastering, etc… it all costs.

Then there’s the touring. Ah yes, the touring. When I was in England, I was surprised by how austere the touring was there compared to here. Many times, the band could (and did) travel from their home to where ever they were going to be. Here in the states, they use a private jet. That isn’t cheap at all even if the band gets a good deal. Here, they stay in pretty nice hotels, even if they put the crew up somewhere less expensive. Speaking of the crew – they pay all of those people, right? Everyone from the guy who has to take care of all that cabling (my worst freaking nightmare!) to the techs and beyond gets paid. Lighting, sound, audio/visual, and everyone in between get a pay check.  There’s also Dom, Anna, Erin and Simon W. to consider…. I’m fairly certain none of them donate their appearances for free!

Those things I’ve mentioned are merely a drop in the bucket. The minutia of touring, right down to the copying and printing that needs to be done, all takes money. Every last paper clip, button to be sewn, guitar string and costume, all takes money.

So, when I see that last year’s Paper Gods tour (2016 in case you’re unsure) grossed 16.1 million here in the states .I’m surprised, for a few reasons, actually.

First of all, according to Pollstar, who compiled a list of last year’s 200 top grossing tours (Duran Duran ranks at 74), the average ticket price to a DD show was $68. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my average ticket price was “slightly higher”…like about $300 a show, give or take.  As I said earlier on Twitter, the average ticket price for someone who doesn’t know much more than Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf was probably $68. For a die-hard fan? $300 if you want near the front.  I alternatively laugh and then cry…

Secondly, the band played 44 shows in 40 cities. That’s a lot. They grossed (that means before their costs), on average about $400,000 a show.  Not as much as I might have thought, really. (The band should not see this as an invitation to raise prices!) When you consider that figure is before anything else is paid – it becomes clear that no, this band isn’t really laughing all the way to the bank after all.

While I still feel fleeced from time to time – in a kind of a “Hey, congratulations Big Fan – you love us so much that you’re going to pay way more than others on average to sit near us” sort of way, it’s kind of the way things go. Demand. Demand, demand, demand. We want them, we’re going to pay for them. Welcome to Economics 101.  I can’t blame them for making a living, particularly when I do the math myself and realize they’re not making as much off of these shows as we might think. 16.2 million before paying all of the bills for things we know, and then the stuff we don’t even realize might not leave a lot….and I am sure they had to share some of that with Chic, too!! Sure, they’re making money. It’s their job in the same way that wrangling children and making copies is mine. I just happen to enjoy the fruits of labor an awful lot!

-R

 

Rhonda’s Merry Christmas Wish List

This is my last blogging day before Christmas. It is amazing how quickly I filled up my “work-free” week with, well, WORK. It is the unpaid kind, and while I enjoy blogging, that isn’t the kind of work I’m talking about. It’s the shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning and cooking variety that has worked very hard to make sure my lower back is in quite a bit of pain just before Christmas, and I am sure I’m not alone.

So before I make a mad dash to try to contain the mess in my house before my sister arrives late tonight from Chicago, I thought I’d settle in and post some good wishes.

This year, I barely got my family Christmas cards out before the holiday. I think that’s a side-effect from working, college applications  (which are finally done!) and teaching at home. There are plenty of my friends who appear to have it all together and got their cards out with time to spare. Me, on the other hand, well…I’m learning. Maybe next year will be better! In any case, I want to say a very Merry Christmas to all of you. It has been a wild year for me and my family, and while we’ve had good cheer, there has been a fair amount of heart ache and loss. My wish for Christmas is time for peace, love and reflection, for all.

I feel very fortunate to be able to write most days. The latter part of this year has been about finding the enjoyment again in doing so. When I first started working, I couldn’t find the time to write. What I’ve begun to realize is that once I started enjoying it again, finding the time was easy. Hmm. Must be something to that, somewhere. The same holds true for being a fan (for me). I am thoroughly enjoying being a fan again. It is one of many things I love, and I’m thankful. My wish here is just for more of the same. I would like to keep writing and enjoying. I don’t have big dreams for the blog or my writing—I just like doing it.

I learned this year that it really doesn’t matter if fellow fans like what I write, or if the band likes it, or even if a publisher likes it. I write for me. It took me a long time to get back to this space and my wish is to stay here and enjoy the moments as they arrive.

Naturally, I can’t forget the band. We’re really and truly talking about their fortieth anniversary coming up. That blows my mind. We’re all “those” fans who have stuck with the band forever with no sign of stopping. I remember going to see the Beach Boys about ten or even fifteen years ago with my husband—laugh if you must, but my parents loved them, so they’re a sentimental favorite. Anyway, we saw a couple of elderly fans being wheeled in and even a couple with oxygen tanks in tow. Walt turned to me and said, “Maybe that’s going to be you someday!” I was not amused. I felt like I would give up the live show before then. I’m not quite elderly, but I hope to never give up the music. Simon says that it can’t go on forever (live shows). I say we should give it a good try.  😀 I can’t imagine the day when this kind of fun just stops.

When I was young, I wished for a lot of things. I still have that type of wish list, but I find that the older I get – the more I wish for the things that just can’t be wrapped. Time with family and friends, peace and quiet, loud concerts, drinks at a bar with people I rarely see…those are the moments I long for.  Additionally, I am thinking about college acceptances for my son, time with my youngest curled up beside me on the couch as we read together, mother/daughter time with my oldest, and a place to retire with my husband with plenty of space where I never have to hear a phone ring (from someone else’s house – yep, I live in Southern California where I can hear my neighbors!) or hear a garbage truck pass.  I think about the simple enjoyment from writing a good blog post, putting on fan get togethers, and yeah—a smile or shared laugh from the stage to cap it all off.

This year’s wish list for me is simple, yet tough to pull off. Much of it, I am going to have to work to make happen on my own. Some of it just requires telling the people I care about how I feel.  So, Merry Christmas to all of you. I’ve met many of you over the years. My memory is poor when it comes to matching names to faces, but my heart is full. I am lucky. I met a lot of wonderful people this past year, especially. I want to thank all of you and tell you that yes, you matter. Every time someone says that they enjoyed the blog or love what Amanda and I do, it means something. I get embarrassed when people say that to us—my red face is a dead give-away, I’m afraid—but I relish it every single time, and I appreciate it.

I hope to see as many of our readers as possible in March at the shows in Palm Springs (It’s really Rancho Mirage at Agua Caliente). Have a fabulous time if you’re headed to Cancun. (oh, to be headed to Cancun….) If you’re going to the shows in DC, I hope you have an amazing time and that you hang out with Amanda. I am looking forward to reading her reports from the road next week. I don’t know how much blogging I will be doing next week, as I have family here from out-of-town, but I will check in and will be back blogging as usual come January 2nd.

Merry Christmas!!!

-R

Happy 58th Birthday Simon!

So as I write this on Wednesday, Simon’s birthday is tomorrow. He will be 58, which is mind-boggling.  I would swear we miscounted. He doesn’t seem 58. He doesn’t look 58. Must be all that good clean living, right?  <big toothy grin here>

I don’t know how many more of these stories I’ll have for members of Duran Duran. It isn’t as though I run into them every day, but I do have one this year with Simon that I don’t think I’ve written about on the blog before.

This past summer, I saw Duran Duran in Toronto with Amanda and our friend Heather, whom I’ve mentioned on the blog before. Many times, actually. (Hi Heather!!) The three of us went to the show and then went to a nearby hotel for after show libations. As we sat in the lounge, we saw Dave come through and look around. I kind of figured that a band member would come in after that, and sure enough it wasn’t long before Simon stepped in.

Here’s the thing. Simon makes me nervous. Granted, I am shy (in person) to begin with, but he genuinely freaks me out. I never know how he’s going to react, and as such, I try to steer clear. I stay in my seat, I order drinks, and in a lot of ways I just hope the sofa opens up and swallows me whole.

Not that long after Simon came into the lounge, he does the unthinkable and starts walking over towards us. Got to tell ya, my brain couldn’t quite compute what was happening. I mean, walking out way? I’d have thought there was someone on the other side of the room – but we were close to the corner. Nope, he was headed towards us. I didn’t know what to do, so I got up. Drinks had arrived, and feeling like I needed something in my hand, I grabbed mine as he started to address us.

Except that he wasn’t addressing us. He was talking to Heather. This made me smile. Heather hasn’t been to many shows. She went with Amanda and I to the Hollywood Bowl, UC Berkeley and Agua Caliente last fall, and then to a show in Canada (Montreal I believe), and then to Toronto with us again. Yet, Simon knew her by name and was quite insistent he’d met her before.

He had no idea, however, who Amanda and I were. Not that I think he should – in fact, I was kind of relieved he didn’t, even though Amanda and I had met him in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel after the David Lynch show and he knew who we were then. I even looked him in the eye and told him my name, and said “You really don’t know me, right?” To which he solemnly replied, “No”.  I had to repress my grin as he then toasted each of us on a lovely evening and went about his way. He was nothing but nice and respectful.  He left Heather over-the-moon by recognizing her, and Amanda and I giggled for many hours over the entire scene.

Never mind that not two weeks later, Simon saunters up to the front of the stage with a full mouth of water during White Lines, begins swirling it around in his mouth like he would during a wine tasting, looks right out at us….and swallows the water…because it is a verse too early, and I think he knew that. So during the right verse (or was it chorus?) he goes back, gets the water, comes to the front of the stage….and douses us.

I will miss moments like that. I’m glad the memory is vivid enough to last me a while.  😀

Happy Birthday Simon. You still freak me out a bit, and I’m honestly not sure if you like Amanda and I, hate us, or just really enjoy teasing the hell out of us…but I enjoyed seeing you on stage this summer and you made the shows fun for me. Thank you!

-R

New Years at MGM National Harbor?

I got word of the official announcement that Duran Duran will be playing on New Years Eve AND New Years Day this year in National Harbor – a new development just outside of Washington DC. The venue (The Theater at MGM National Harbor) is 3,000 seats – so it is intimate, and the casino (MGM National Harbor) will provide just the right atmosphere for late night festivities in order to welcome 2017. It sounds like just the plan for Duranies on the east coast, or anyone willing to make the trip.

As you are reading this on Tuesday morning, the pre-sale for the show dates are likely already taking place. You can find ticket prices and details here.

No, the tickets are not cheap. These shows are taking place on New Years Eve and New Years Day, which are both holidays, and events typically sell at a premium. I can’t blame them even if I can’t join them! The hotel (MGM National Harbor) is also very expensive – stays for that period of time are ghastly prohibitive to many Duranies unless you are willing to share a room with twelve or more of your closest buddies, but I hear there are other hotels in the area, too.  Good luck!

I’ve seen many a complaint, as always, ranging from the price of the shows (with Ultimate VIP – a guaranteed front row seat – the tickets could easily reach $600, but cheaper tickets are available), to the fact that yes, these shows are once again in the US.  I am empathetic to those outside of the US, because it is true – they have spent a good portion of time here lately.  I know it is a difficult truth, but the fact is: the band makes money here. Duran Duran is not a charity, and they don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. They sell tickets here. The music industry is here.  It is what it is. I do wonder if the band is really going to be doing shows in Europe or anywhere else net year, but at the moment…I’m more curious about something else entirely…

Is Nick going to be appearing with the band?

In the past, this would not have even been a question. In fact, I feel a little silly for even wondering because, well…this summer was just a fluke, right? Of course he’s coming back. Right?

However, after missing the entire leg of shows this summer, the question still hangs in my head. I didn’t have to wait long to see if anyone would ask. When the subject came up yesterday on Twitter, Katy responded that she did not have the answer to that question at this time.

Wait, what?

You mean, there really IS a question hanging in the air about this?!  I guess for me, I’m sitting here wondering how Duran Duran can plan shows without even knowing if their keyboard player is going to be there. But then I remember that MNDR played the entire tour, and did a fantastic job. Even so, wasn’t that really just a one-off thing, or is this “something” really more of a permanent deal?  Or maybe, it’s that Katy answered honestly. She didn’t want to say yes or no because it wasn’t something that had been discussed yet. I can see that. I mean, you can’t really commit to something you don’t know. Perhaps by the time this is published (I’m writing ahead!), all will be known and this will be a non-issue.

I guess the one thing I know for sure is that at some point, Duran Duran should choose to come clean on this and say whatever it is that needs said, even if that’s to say that of course Nick is going to be performing.  Having the question hanging in the air is worse than having the words out there in black and white. Fans have the right to know who is going to be playing keyboards before they shell out a handful of money to see another gig.

Amanda and I have openly chosen not to press the issue with Nick because we accepted that he wanted whatever he needed to do kept private. We get that. I get that.  To be clear, I am not requesting that the band give any more details besides whether or not he is planning to appear.  This isn’t about privacy, or Nick’s health…or needing to know every last bit of minutia.  However, if he isn’t going to tour with the band, I think it’s time to just say so.  I believe this is owed to their fans and the people who have stuck by them through several guitarists, drummers, and even bass players over the years. I think the fans have more than proven their staying power, and dammit – we’re pretty supportive when given the opportunity.

I’d like to be given that chance.

-R

 

Waiting for a look, the invitation: 2017 Concert Dates

So, it’s mid-October. For those who celebrate, it’s the downward slide to Halloween.  We’re headed into the final quarter of 2016…and aside from Lollapalooza in South America, there is nary a 2017 concert date in sight for Duran Duran.

Sure, I’d love more (wouldn’t we all?), but the rest of the world hasn’t really gotten a turn.  Which is why I was wondering when they’re going to announce the dates for next year.  So I looked at the calendar.  We tend to (usually) get at least six weeks lead time for US shows (and often longer), and to be fair I’ve never really noticed if the same holds true elsewhere. Assuming it does, dates probably won’t be announced until Mid-December if they’re not looking to begin a tour until February or March. I guess it is a case where it feels like something should be happening because nothing is. It is very quiet in Duranland for the most part, isn’t it?

Then there is that date in Cancun. So appealing, yet so ridiculously priced beyond my budget… In order to stay at the hotel, it’s $600 a night with a 5 night minimum.  My math isn’t great, but we’re talking $3000 for the hotel, and I don’t think that is including tax of any kind, although it IS all-inclusive.  Food and (most) beverages would be included in that price. And rest assured, the resort is gorgeous. Sure, you could share your room and call it a vacation. But Duran Duran is only playing one night…and there’s that question of the other possible “end of year date mentioned for the east coast”…

….which has yet to be announced beyond a mere, vague mention.   Many Duranies are betting it will be a New Years Eve gig in New York City. It’s plausible, given that they will be in Cancun that week as well. Again, if they announce with a 6-week window, we might not hear about it until mid-November. I know DDHQ had said maybe the date would be announced in October, and I would love for that to happen. Having time to plan is so helpful, but on the other hand, things aren’t always set up primarily to benefit fans. Business is business, and things happen. Here’s hoping the gig is priced right so that many can attend!

In other news, Anna Ross is wasting NONE of this downtime as she works to get her first solo album completed.  I love that Anna takes the time to update us on how it’s going, and I feel like I’ve been able to catch glimpses throughout the process.  I’ve listened to the little tasters she’s shared along the way, and I can’t wait to hear the finished product!

-R

 

 

Springsteen to Duran Duran: Fandom is happiness

I was watching the news this morning and I heard that Bruce Springsteen was coming to the Grove in Los Angeles this morning to sign his new book—Born to Run.  The news segment focused on the amount of people in line and how long they waited.  The first few several people in line had camped out overnight, and the reporter thought that was—oh go on, you know the word—crazy.

What struck me wasn’t how the reporter felt about the people who had waited in line overnight, but how happy those folks were to be there waiting for Springsteen.  These fans were easily (on average) a good 10-15 years older than the average Duranie.  Yet they were still out there, and having what seemed to be a great time.

I also laughed at some of the comments made to the reporter:

“Anything for Bruce!” 

“Oh, I’d do him, I mean THIS…..over and over again!”

“Waiting overnight isn’t so bad, I’ve waited two and three days in line for his concerts!” 

“I’d follow him anywhere!” 

“When we all get together, it’s like a family reunion, so that is part of what makes this fun.” 

Many of those statements are things I’ve heard at our own gatherings, whether concerts, appearances, or even meet-ups or conventions. The feelings are the same, no matter the fandom, and really—those comments the Springsteen fans shared  are exactly why they work.  I think when it comes down to it, people who are really into fandom—not just into the band—but also into being a fan, are looking for that sense of togetherness. They want friendships and personal connections.  Those relationships sometimes outlive the fandom itself, and they are real.

It is almost too bad that more people don’t recognize fandom for what it does rather than the stereotypes it sometimes creates.  I say almost because fandom is special, and if people don’t get it, I guess I’m of the opinion that maybe that’s OK in the long run. Far be it from me to take on the task of convincing everyone otherwise.

Yes, I’m the first to say that there are crazy people who sometimes take fandom a bit too far. I have my lines in the sand, other people have their own. I can’t decide for others what constitutes “too much”, but I can tell you that in my mind—being able to take a day or two to “camp” out for a book signing with a group of my closest friends, people who genuinely understand me—doesn’t seem so crazy to me. In fact, it seems like a luxury right now!

At the end of the segment the reporter cautioned the viewing audience that if they were interested in going to this signing, they should probably forget it because she’d already counted over a thousand people in line and Bruce had something like 1115 books ready to sign for this particular in-store appearance.  A thousand people were already in line waiting at 7am this morning. Amazing.

I found myself smiling in memory of the past year. Driving incredibly late at night up and down the state of California….picking up friends at the airport…going to shows and discovering that once again, my seats are in nearly the same spot as they were for the show prior…buying ridiculous pants at a Target store just so that we could tease John and Simon (as if they even saw our video, but dammit it was funny to us anyway)…meet-ups along the way…VIP parties…vodka tonics…new cities…and yes, those crazy videos Amanda and I made.

Like many of those interviewed in line this morning, I wouldn’t trade any of the memories I’ve made during the past twelve years, much less those from this summer.  Those thoughts, and the smiles that follow, are what will keep me going during times when life isn’t quite so carefree and I’m wishing for times with friends again.  Not long ago I wondered how long I could really keep this up, thinking that at some point I’d want to stop.  Seeing Bruce’s fans still out there having fun makes me hope I’m still involved in ten or fifteen years.

-R

I’m Working Onto Something: Duran Downtime

It’s Wednesday! I don’t know where this week has gone, but I’m feeling far removed from Duran Duran these days, particularly with the downtime, I have to say. Yesterday I spent my day at a Parent Tea at our school. I participated as “mom” rather than “Miss Rhonda.”  (the cute new title I earned with this job), and also in CPR/First Aid/AED training. That’s right, Duranies, should you be at an event with me, have no fear…I can help. <waggles eyebrows>  Today I’m headed back down to San Diego county to sign all of the exciting paperwork so that hopefully, I can start work tomorrow.

I’m also about waist deep in college applications, essay writing, and school in general for the kids. I think that we at least know where Gavin, my son is applying now. Can I just say that when this process is over again in the spring, I’ll be very glad that I won’t be doing it again until my youngest is a senior, ten years from now!  On top of that, I’m trying to figure out our schedule, get used to all of the activities we signed up to do (what was I thinking??) and still cook dinner each night.  So far, I’m at about 60%. Not good.

I was thinking yesterday as I sat down to check in with the world that I am already feeling out of it. For the past six years, primarily due to Daily Duranie, I took it as part of my “job” to know what the band was up to. Otherwise, how would I have things to write about each day? When the band stopped touring at the end of AYNIN—right about this time four years ago—I think I went through serious withdrawals. I didn’t know what to write about anymore. I was so used to having constant activity that when I didn’t, I’m pretty sure depression set in. Following the band WAS my hobby.  Some may say I failed miserably, instead of just moving on or scaling back the blog in the downtime, I followed the recording of the new album as best as I could from my kitchen here in the US, and yes—I was anxious for new music, but mainly (if I am being honest) for the band to tour again.

So here I am again, at a similar point in downtime. Granted, the band isn’t going back into the studio or anything like that. They still have more touring to do next year, as I understand. But we are in between tours. Duran Downtime. I have this anxious feeling stirring in me again, but then I realize this time, it’s different.  I’m finding myself with little to no time to “check in” with the world each day. I may tweet randomly at odd moments, but I can’t sit with my Tweetdeck window open and have conversations the way I once did. If anything, I’m concerned about finding the time to blog about anything at all.  Even now, I’m typing as fast as I can because I need to leave in about 20 minutes – and the rest of my day is spoken for.

I find myself out of it purely because now, I can barely pay attention. I’ve gone from feast to famine in a matter of weeks, and I won’t lie – I kind of like it!  I do miss talking with friends, and I absolutely miss planning the next road trip. On the other hand though, it is awfully nice to focus on something other than the pants certain band members willingly choose to wear in public.  Other than a Skype session a couple of weeks ago, Amanda and I hadn’t had a single phone call since she left my house at the beginning of August.

Times have definitely changed. I knew it would happen eventually, though. I still say that it’s nice to be able to step away and do something more than wait for the band to announce something, or wait to see who out of my circle of friends is online and able to chat. I’m hoping this keeps me busy in between tours, and keep the touring coffers a little less empty!

I remember what I felt like four years ago. I was sad, a little depressed, and knew the winter would be long. For me this time, I’m not sad. I’m excited to start my new job, and if anything—I’m a little worried about how I’m going to manage blogging, writing and eventually planning a convention.  These are challenges I welcome in the months ahead, as I find my new groove and settle in to a brand new schedule.

Yeah, downtime sucks. I miss my friends. Of course I miss the excitement of planning travel and knowing I’ll see the band.  But this time, real life is filling the gap for me, and I welcome it. We’ll see if I’m still saying that by next June, though.

-R

 

I Need Your Blind Full Secrets

Sorry the blog is late today, I was in training for most of the day and I’m now squeezing this in between extracurricular activities. I suspect this might become a pattern with Tuesday and Thursday blogs, but I will do my best.

Admittedly, things are quiet now in Duranland.  After nearly a year of relatively constant activity, I’m finding myself back in the pattern of needing to think about what to write rather than have topics swimming in my head. Again, I’ll do my best. If there is something that you’d like to see Amanda or I cover that we haven’t lately, or if you have ideas for fun polls or activities—don’t hesitate to let us know.

We will once again be doing our now Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest in October, so get your creative juices flowing! Details on that to come soon.

Like many of you, I’ve been curious to see what DDHQ pulls out of the hat for that last North America concert date. No word yet on when or exactly where on the east coast it will be, but I saw a little birdie mention that news of that might be coming in October. Stay tuned…

Not sure if anyone noticed the recent photos of one Nicholas Rhodes floating around—he was in attendance at the Pam Hogg show for London Fashion Week, and there are a few photos of him with Yasmin and Antony Price, as well as one of Nick and Nefer at the LOVE magazine party in London on September 19th. (I am not posting the photos here, but you can easily locate them on Duran Duran’s Facebook and/or Twitter pages).  It is good to see Nick out and about, particularly since none of us really saw him this past summer during the North American tour.

Nick was certainly missed this past summer. It was very strange to look up and not see him grinning from his keyboards. I keep saying it, but MNDR did a fabulous job in an incredibly short period of time to learn everything. Even so, I can’t imagine the band without Nick.  Can anyone?? Maybe they’d all start wearing DENIM…or baseball caps on stage without him!!! <evil grin here>

Amanda and I have done our best to respect his privacy and not speculate. We have no idea why he needed to miss the US dates. But yes, both of us would say that for Nick, of all people, to miss the entire US tour – we’d have to think it was important. I can’t say we went to a single show where it wasn’t brought up. We heard far too many rampant rumors coming from people who, if they really DID know the truth – shouldn’t have been going around telling every fan they ran into.  Then again, I suppose that alone says it all.

Now that he’s out and about again, fans are thrilled.  It’s good to see him. I know people will continue to speculate, because that’s what fans do.  Sure, even I wonder. The guy looks healthy and fine, and I  wonder what kept him away from an entire tour. Of course. But, I also respect that not everything is up for public knowledge, scrutiny, and debate. So, I’m just happy to see he’s out and about. Hopefully the rest of the world will be able to experience the Paper Gods as we know they were meant to be.

-R

September 9 Durant Oklahoma Show Review

I just want to say a very quick but heartfelt thank you to everyone and anyone who has taken the time to write a blog about their concert experience while the band has toured so far. Obviously, Amanda and I can’t be everywhere, but we really want to be able to bring the touring experience to everyone. So, we truly thank everyone who has helped out with that by writing up their own tour experience. We can’t thank you enough – because YOU are what makes Daily Duranie special. 

With that in mind, we have a post straight from Durant, Oklahoma this past weekend to share!  Thanks to Kim-Loan McDuffie!!  -R

Also, if you are viewing this on a cell/mobile phone or tablet, it is quite possible that you are seeing some photos sideways.  While WordPress is responsive, it is unfortunately not always THAT responsive for mobile – and since I am not really a webmaster or a website builder, I can’t fix it.  Sorry!!  -R

By Kim-Loan McDuffie

The last two shows for Duran Duran in North America were in Durant, Oklahoma.  (Ironic, right?  DURANt)  Dallas is but just over an hour away from here, so we bought tickets to the Sept. 7 show, but it was changed to Sept. 9 after we bought tickets, so that worked out better since it fell on a Friday night instead of a school night!  Grown up girls sleepover time!!!

The town of Durant is a quaint little country town with a large casino/resort/entertainment complex.     We checked in early that Friday for a day of relaxing, fun and dinner before the 8:00 show (no opening act).  This particular weekend was gold for any fan that wanted a run-in with the band or crew members since they all stayed on premises for the entire weekend.  The resort was big yet small enough for multiple run-ins with everyone since we all had the same set of elevators if you stayed in the grand towers or suites.  There were Duran Duran folks poolside, outside, inside, and at the restaurants.  The last blog I did for Daily Duranie was about our meet and greet with JT, so this time I will give more details about the actual concert, but I do have to say that this weekend was just as exciting as our last experience, if not more spectacular.

I had purchased 12 tickets total (going out with a bang!!).  I gifted a pair to a fellow volunteer Wish Granter for the Make A Wish foundation, he’s been such an amazing person and friend who has never seen a DD show.  I also invited 7 friends for a sleepover and saved a last pair of tickets on the floor to do a random act of kindness.

Before the show started, I walked upstairs toward the back of the venue and found an older couple who sat way in the back and asked them if I could upgrade their seats.  They were shocked and so excited, and high fives were exchanged, then  8:10 hit and we got seated for the show.  The remaining 8 tickets in my hands were 1st and 2nd row seats scattered into the middle and JT side of the stage, and this way smaller venue made the close seats feel even closer!  The American Airlines Center in Dallas holds well over 20,000 while Choctaw in Durant holds a mere 3,000.  It made a huge difference, this concert was so intimate but still felt big!

The last show in April had Nick Rhodes at the keyboards, and this show has MNDR.  I didn’t notice a huge difference, but I did miss Nick’s presence and energy.  The sound was still great but there was just a little musical magic that only Nick brings.  The rest of the members brought their A game, everyone was all smiles and great energy.

Loan Durant Simon 1

On the subject of energy, Simon was very much perfection this night!  In April he had some throat and coughing problems, but this night, he was on point.  Simon was just happy and fun!  His banter was silly, he started the evening with a joke about if we all had ordered Papa Johns pizza for dinner, since there were Papa Johns flyers and advertisements all over the resort.  That made us all laugh and his smiles and happy energy took us through the entire show.

Loan Durant Simon 2Simon’s voice was as gorgeous as ever, as was John’s bass slapping, Roger’s amazing drumming and Dom, Simon W. and MNDR’s musical support.  I was seated front row right below Dom’s spot.  We were only separated from the stage, just two feet away, by a metal barricade. My hands easily touched the stage.  We were able to see all their expressions, movements and steps.  This close to the performers, I could feel their personal energy and passion for their craft.  There was a point when Simon and John were together on a singing part and I don’t know if someone did something silly or a little mistake was made, but we could see the genuine laughter between the two friends.  That gave us the warm, touchy feelies.

Loan Durant Simon 4

 

Loan Durant Simon 3

 

Loan Durant WATC Simon

Simon also gave us all the same giggles and overwhelming school girl crush feeling when he introduced Come Undone with his usual naughty banter.  Only Simon can say Viagra and Cialis in his British accent and make us all crazy. He whispered an additional naughty remark that had the women in the crowds swooning, and the men laughing.  We were in the direction of Simon’s smiling and glances at one point during his singing that brought us back to our teenage crush feelings.  Tonight, everyone felt like Simon was serenading them directly.  That’s something that a true front-man with so much onstage charisma can only do.

Loan Durant JTJohnTaylor (I still have such a bad habit of always saying his first and last name, he’s not John or Mr. Taylor, it always comes out as JohnTaylor, even when I speak with him, I’m such a dork!) was the bass god that he’s earned the title to.  When Simon did his usual introduction of JT, the crowd followed in Simon’s chant of “Play that f-ing bass, John!” so loud, so cheerful and with so much joy and energy!  He was more smiley, happy and was as JohnTaylor-y as can be.  When JohnTaylor smiles, it always feels like it’s aimed at you, because he has the best smile!  I spoke with some male friends after the show and they were even saying they have man-crushes on JT after seeing him at this show.  Now that is what you call stage presence if the straight men fall in love with you too.

Loan Durant Dom JT

 

Loan Simon slant

Let’s not forget about our man behind the drum kit.  From my spot, I could see Roger plenty, his seat positioning was many times right in our direction.  I’m not shy, so I waved a couple of times and was reciprocated with a wink and smiles.  His beats were hot, and energy was sweet and great.

The last song brought feelings of sadness and happiness.  We were so happy to have been in this moment and feeling, yet sad it was over.  I did spend most of my time singing, dancing, swooning and taking in all the sights and sounds. They looked happy, refreshed, and all so gorgeous and they sounded great…. I was so thankful to have spent my time watching and listening, knowing it would be the last concert for a while.  I’m also glad they added The Reflex to the set list, it was so good!  I only wish that had sung The Chauffeur like they did in some other cities, it’s my very favorite song and hearing it live is at the top of my list of wishes.

Loan Durant encore

The Wild Boys thanked the crowd for a spectacular tour and great night, bowed and said goodnight…. I waved goodnight to the stage and was also able to grab Roger’s hand as he shook some hands on the way out.  The lights came on and it was an aftermath of a ton of confetti and deflated giant beach balls all around to sadly remind us it was over.

Loan Durant confetti

Loan Durant Rio

This show was better for me because I made the choice to pay more attention and take in the concert experience knowing it would be the last show for a while.  The fact that the room and stage was much smaller and we were that much closer to the performers made this night just over the top.  It was worth the cost of the tickets, even if there wasn’t an opening act.  Everyone on stage was incredible and gave this performance their all.  John Taylor had told us earlier that day that he really loves performing, loves the feeling of bringing the music and excitement to his fans.  He said hopes to do this over and over again and for as long as possible, as this is truly his happy place.  I believe that, and he proved it this night on stage.
Loan Durant front rowMy biggest regret?  Well, my biggest and only regret was that I wasn’t smart enough to plan ahead to buy tickets and rooms for both show nights.  I bet the last show must have been incredible if the next to the last show was so amazing.  Regardless, I am still so thankful for the two shows I have seen this year, both experiences were enough to make teenage me so jealous.  2016 has been some Duran Duran dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy of Kim-Loan McDuffie

 

loan thumbnailLoan (pronounced “lawn”) McDuffie, has loved Duran Duran since seeing her first video on MTV!  Like most people her age, she tries to keep up with the new music but always goes back to 80’s music and anything from Duran Duran.  Simon Le Bon was her first crush, but this year after my first concert and meeting them, it’s fair to say she has crushes on them all!  She is a mother, wife, business owner, and volunteer/children’s advocate and fundraiser residing in the Dallas suburbs.

No Tomorrow: Last Few US Dates

Today marks the beginning of a new school year in the Rivera house. As I type, I’m still trying to get my youngest up out of bed, and I haven’t even started on the boy yet. It’s his first day of his senior year (I still can’t quite grasp that). My oldest drove back to her apartment after spending the weekend here at home. I am still adjusting to the idea that she’s got her own place, and not-so-secretly I love it when she comes home on Friday nights!  She started her fall semester a week ago.  I would swear it was May only last week, and I’m not really ready to start this yet. (but I won’t tell the kids that!)

This next school year will bring big changes. Again. Last night I spent my evening editing and helping to rewrite a couple of essays for colleges. Last week we started the college application process.  Gavin is going to major in Astrophysics.  No, he doesn’t get it from me, that is for sure!  On the other hand, my youngest starts with her singing “team” this week. We went from show choir being a casual once a week practice to this year where it will be twice a week (four hours practice) and Saturday performances. She’s still doing piano and soccer, and I am now down to one day of the week where I will not be doing the mommy-shuttle somewhere.

I am particularly pleased that as I get busier with my kids, Duran Duran is finishing their US tour. I was so worried that I’d have to miss  seeing them this time.  I definitely didn’t miss out. This week they do two dates in San Antonio, then two more in Oklahoma, and then they’re finished, at least for now.  They’re talking about doing one more date on the east coast at some point before the end of the year, and I keep hearing that they have plans to go elsewhere in the world, but nothing confirmed and announced just yet.

While part of me is sad that I am likely finished planning trips to see Duran Duran for now, I’m also glad that it worked out as it did.  I had the chance to see them more than a few times, both a year ago and then this summer.  The only shadow cast over this tour was Nick’s absence. MNDR did a fantastic job stepping in for him, and I am forever grateful she did. My summer would have been a drastically different tale otherwise.

For the past few years now (yes, years), it seems that the rumor mill has turned constantly, rumors of this being the final tour keeping the wheel moving. Even Amanda and I have caught ourselves beginning sentences with, “Well, if this is the last…”  I suppose we can’t help but not think about it occasionally.  I wanted no regrets (I’ve since realized that no matter what I do, I’ll always want more). But as the tour went on, I wondered if this really would be the last. I mean, have you seen the band up there on that stage?  They all genuinely look like they’re having the time of their lives.  Do they really want that to end?  And (somewhat) more importantly—are you really telling me that the last shows they do here in the US won’t include Nick? Well, I suppose if they come back before the end of the year Nick might be with them for the one date they’re hoping to do, but it still seems strange.  You never know, I guess.

Since this tour was announced, I tried to make plans with the idea that this might be the last I see of the band as a whole. I went to a lot of shows—not as many as some—but certainly more than I’m used to doing. I traveled to Toronto so that I could see my friend Heather.  I spent most of July with Amanda.  We stayed at a couple of really nice hotels, one of which we’d always wondered about staying in, so we finally did it. Even as I did all of that, and stood mostly silent in front of the band as they’d segue from “Sunrise” to “New Moon on Monday” and I’d feel goosebumps on my arms and the hair stand up on the back of my neck each time, I wondered if it was really possible that this could be it.

As good as this tour and album cycle has been, it’s also been strange in its own way.  The band doesn’t change their set list much. They’ve toured with Chic nearly the entire way….which isn’t really weird, it’s just different.  They’re playing a lot of festivals.  The show is very production-heavy. Nick wasn’t here for this leg. I don’t even know what happened to the promotion for this album.

It seemed like Warner went all-in at first, but then the release for “Pressure Off” was bizarre, and I don’t really care what the band’s PR says elsewhere—I’ve never once heard “Pressure Off” on the radio, so I don’t think you can call it a radio hit.  And as far as other singles go, I wouldn’t know if there have even been any. I know there’s at least a video for “Last Night in the City”, but it’s never actually been released. I don’t know how Warner falls in with all of that, but I’d be remiss for not noticing the lack of…well…support in that sense.

As always, I’m left with questions. Amanda and I have often said that no matter how much we feel gets answered, there’s still more left unsaid.

-R