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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simon’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.
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.
JohnTaylor (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.
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.
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.
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.
My 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 (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.
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.
Today is Labor Day here in the US, and it is the holiday that marks the end of summer, at least figuratively speaking. By now, most everyone is back in school—my kids start tomorrow, and a lot of resorts and tourist attractions begin cutting back on their hours after this weekend. This year, Duran Duran seemed to take over my summer since they were touring. Now as summer comes to an end, the lions share of their 2016 US tour is finished, with only a few more dates ahead.
I saw a comment from someone the other day as they mentioned the tour winding down. They said, among other things, that they were saying goodbye to people knowing that it might be years (if ever) before they see them again. I have to say that for me personally, it is the toughest part about being a Duran Duran fan. By FAR.
I’m not trying to speak for everyone else here, but at least part of me lives for the band’s tours. That isn’t just because I want to see John, Simon, Nick and Roger. In some ways, I wish it were that easy! I’ve made a lot of friends simply by traveling to see the band play. I recognize and know some of the people who work behind the scenes now. In turn, a few know my name and are kind enough to even call out to me in passing if I don’t notice them first.
I also have friends in various places around this country, and while I would love to say we all get together outside of Duran Duran tours, the truth is we don’t. When the band comes—and I mean this—it is like a family reunion. There is never enough time to sit with everyone and socialize. We’re running from gig to gig, we try our best to plan meet-ups and see people, but invariably we’re playing our own version of Beat the Clock, and we typically lose.
On that same thread, another fan mentioned that the Duran Duran shows are similar to theatre. As many know, my oldest has been involved in theatre and dance for many years and I’ve heard her say similar things, although she hasn’t been involved in a traveling show just yet . I can certainly see the similarities. The main difference, at least to me, is music.
Simon himself says that music transcends. I heartily agree. The sheer power of love found through music is unlike anything I’ve ever known or experienced. People continually ask me not only why I’m still a fan, but why I go to so many shows. They’re the two questions I get asked most often. (Along with, “How does your husband feel about that?”) People who are not fans don’t get it, but the band itself is only one piece. As all of you (should) know, I don’t know the band personally. I go to the shows, I have a blast, but then that little bit ends. After that, it’s really about the people I’ve met along the way. It is the hours I spend chatting before and after a show with people.
The most obvious example is of course Amanda. I don’t see her everyday, and now we’re not even finding time to Skype. My schedule has changed, she’s back in school teaching, and I don’t see her often since we live about 2,500 miles apart. We trade emails when we can, we talk on the phone when we find the time—which right now is impossible. So when we are together, we talk for hours. We get past the surface stuff, dig deep, agree, disagree, debate, and listen. I treasure that time.
I can think of about seventy more examples from this summer. We were in Vegas and had a meet-up at Eye Candy in Mandalay Bay. There was a small group of us sitting around a table when all of a sudden a friend of mine walked up. I hadn’t seen her since my days of driving up to Los Angeles to see Clear Static at the Key Club. In the amount of time that had passed I’d had a baby (who is now eight), lost my dad, she’d gotten married and unfortunately lost her husband, among many other things. I jumped up and ran to hug her. I had trouble holding back my emotion. After all, only the previous week had I just had to say goodbye to my mom’s friend, and knowing that she’d gone through what my mom went through….I was thrilled to see her. Only later did I sit back and really marvel at how different our lives are now, and yet the “Duran-thing” binds us.
I don’t know how long it will be before I see many of you again. I don’t know what the future holds for the band, or for any of us for that matter. I bonded with brand new friends summer, and had the opportunity to spend quality time with great friends I hadn’t seen in years. I continue to be spellbound that a band that I first began to listen to when I was no more than ten or eleven, brought me to this place. It is tough to say “See you later”, but I have high hopes that it won’t be long before I’m saying hello to many of you again.
So, the Duranie fallout from Mike Bell’s unfavorable review of the Calgary show continues this morning. I can’t remember the last time Daily Duranie had so much discussion on its Facebook page, actually. Dissenting comments populated our page and spread like wildfire.
Coyly, one commenter asked, “Is he not allowed an opinion?” She continued by saying she didn’t know if she would agree with his review until she went to see the show.
Fair enough. Her loaded question made me think. Mike Bell, and others like him are critics. In order to be a critic, opinions are necessary. I mean, you can’t very well review something if you don’t have an opinion, can you? But is that the point here? I’m not so sure on my end.
There have been numerous times when Amanda and I have given an unfavorable review. Fans are not afraid to call us out when they do not agree. We’ve had it pointed out to us occasionally that we’ve been too harsh with regard to one topic or another. Carefully, we cite reasons, give examples and with varying levels of success—we attempt to be fair when we write blogs that are less than favorable. It isn’t easy, and we don’t expect everyone to agree. Our job is to start the conversation and let it go from there.
Those details that Amanda and I try very hard to incorporate here, such as examples, reasons, and yes, fairness, were missing yesterday. It wasn’t so much that the reviewer didn’t like the show, it was that I hardly saw critique of the show. His article displayed his predetermined utter dislike for the band with a few dismal sentences about the show thrown in for good measure. Had he taken the time to prove why he felt that HLTW wasn’t quite up to par, or how he felt that the band was inanimate, perhaps the review might have gone over differently.
That’s just it though, these critics don’t have to prove anything. They can just write their drivel, and for the most part—it goes unnoticed and unchallenged until a blog like Daily Duranie comes along. I make no apologies for starting the conversation.
Life makes me laugh sometimes. Yesterday I had commented that this tour had given me very little to write about.
Today is a new day! This morning I had Mike Bell’s review from the Calgary Herald waiting in my inbox. Without noticing the byline, I assumed it would be another glowing, beautiful review of a well-staged production. I clicked on the link, preparing to scan the article and move on.
“Someone recently asked about the enduring appeal of Duran Duran, why they still mattered or if they, in fact, actually still did.
Musically, that’s an easy question to answer: No. No they don’t.”
One line—the one above, mind you—and I realized I would need to read far more carefully. After reading the entire article, I had to go back and re-read, hoping to wade through the insults to find the meat of the review.
Here’s a particularly good zinger:
“Duran Duran opened the show with the flaccid title track from the new album, taking the stage to those trappings of earlier days, when it seemed cool to have thunder, fog machines and images of trees and birds, for some reason, displayed behind them.
It wasn’t cool. It was sad. Laughable. Almost perfect parody in an arena that they no longer belong in.”
Ouch. So he didn’t much care for “Paper Gods” as the opener then. OK. I think that song is a particularly tough sell for people who haven’t followed the band over the years, and in my opinion, I do find it a bit weak as an opener compared to “Before The Rain” (but there were plenty who hated that one too). But then, I follow the band. Guilty as charged.
I did chuckle openly over his comments about “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Simon is no closer to Will Ferrell than I am to say, Kiesza or anyone who has ever shared the stage with Duran Duran…but that whole “Is anybody hungry?” thing has got to go. I think though, even Simon knows it’s corny, and plays it up for all it’s worth. So good on him.
He goes on to compare their “Space Oddity” to a turd (his words, not mine), calls the set “muddled karaoke”, and characterizes the work from the latest album as “landlocked, cruise-ship fodder.”
Then there’s the lights and visuals (oh no, not even the production team was spared…my thoughts and prayers to all of you who might be reading….and yes, that’s sarcasm you’re reading.)
“a crappy light and video display, barren stage, almost inanimate band members, but, confetti! — was mom and dad jeans come to life.”
I can handle most anything, but leave my jeans out of this, Mr. Bell.
And then he does the unthinkable and dares to use the name Spandau Ballet, in the same review as Duran Duran. (cue dramatic music)
“It was like that Spandau Ballet episode of Modern Family, where everyone wanted so desperately for a dude playing music from the past in their living room to be something special, something to remember, something that would be a new event, but it wasn’t.”
I don’t even remember that episode of Modern Family, by the way. Now I’m gonna have to search it out. Thanks.
He goes on from there, calling the show desperate and hollow. Oh, and a sham.
He also reviews Chic, which from what I’m grasping—he seemed to like, and felt that the audience didn’t deserve them. Perhaps that’s possible. But let’s just get back to Duran Duran, shall we?
Here’s the thing: it isn’t always the best plan to review shows that you have already decided in advance that you’re going to hate. I’ve never quite understood that methodology, and while sure—sometimes you get assigned things as a writer that you don’t want to cover. I get it. But do yourself and your career a favor and do them well. Mr. Bell can’t honestly tell me that he prepared to go in and write an unbiased review that night any more than I can sit here and say that I’m not a Duranie.
I suppose there are different ways to get traffic on a website. One way is to write a glowing review of a show. That band might then tweet it to their followers and they click on the link to read. Another is to write what I would consider to be one of the most scathing, brutal, and unrelenting reviews I’ve read about the band’s live show since perhaps the reunion tour. (Even then reviewers found SOMETHING to like about the show. Conversely, Mr. Bell here seems to only enjoyed the moments when the band was NOT onstage, but I digress.) People like me will read those reviews with great interest, and then discuss them on their blog.
After reading, I immediately posted the review on our Facebook page and encouraged fans to read and discuss. One of the comments (and there were many) was that this seems to be an ongoing issue with male critics. The commenter went on to guess that maybe Mike had lost his first girlfriend to the band and harbors continued ill will. It is a comment I’ve seen whenever a man has given a poor review to the band, actually.
I thought about the reviews I’d read from female writers lately. There too lies a theme. The review is often from the point of view that the writer loved the band back in the 80s, complete with posters on their wall, a John Taylor haircut, bleached bangs, pleas for marriage…etc etc. I welcome a positive reviews, but I often wonder why it is necessary for so many female writers to admit their bias as the framework for their article. Why not go to the show and review it purely on its merit? Why make it about nostalgia and having that moment they dreamt of as teens? Not every female reviewer does this, but enough do that I take notice in the same way I see that plenty of male critics seem to have anger issues with the band simply because girls liked them in the 80s.
As someone who has run into the sexism that goes along with being a female fan of any band, much less Duran Duran (and for crying out loud stop comparing them to New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys!)- particularly when it has come to the writing Amanda and I have done—I can see we still live in a time where assumptions and stereotypes still rule, across the board. I can’t possibly like the band without the crux of it being about wanting to get backstage with them, and men don’t like the band because of jealousy.
I can’t very well say what Mr. Bell’s truth might be, but I can say that overall—it is far easier to accept the stereotypes (and we all do: male and female alike) than acknowledge the truth.
The Paper Gods tour has been fun so far, particularly since I was able to attend shows. I’m looking forward to covering as much of it as we can along the way. That said, I have found very little to really write about lately.
Today, however, my attention was drawn to the Sunday evening show in Vancouver. Simon apparently addressed the crowd, saying hello to the city, but he didn’t stop there. He commented that the city is different from the US, because it ISN’T the US – and for that, the band is grateful.
Here’s the thing: I love Duran Duran. But sometimes, they are truly knuckleheads. I’m not afraid to say that, which is probably one reason why I’m not employed by the band. I’m sure that Simon was just being Simon, and that the words came out of his mouth before he realized what he was saying, but that didn’t stop the groans from the audience.
For the geographically challenged amongst us (and I count myself in that group as I needed to Google it): Rogers Arena in Vancouver isn’t far from the US border – only just under 31 miles. I’m sure there were a fair number of Americans in the audience that night.
When statements come out like that, here is what many, including myself, might hear: We don’t mind America. We like taking their money, actually. That said, we’re not really fond of it, even though once we made it there, we were on top of the world.
I’m the first one to stand and say I’ve been caught chewing on my foot more times than I can count. Sometimes I just trip over my words on the way out, realizing that I’ve likely said something offensive and yet I just keep going, because if I’m going to fuck it up, I’m going to do it royally. And you know, I could give Simon a pass on this too. Like I said, I’ve done similar. Many, many times.
After a while though, one starts to wonder how the band really feels.
It’s a sticky topic. On one hand, I tend to take what Simon says at a show with a grain of salt. He was just trying to welcome the crowd and say something funny. On the other, I know for sure that there were Americans in that audience that didn’t find it amusing. Some were offended, because they’ve openly tweeted as such. How would I have felt if I had been there?
How many legs of this tour have been spent here in America? Just how many shows have they done here this time, and how much time has been spent elsewhere thus far? Yet, he went ahead and put down the country that has shown up in amazing numbers to see them play. It’s just bad even if it was a joke, and unfortunate if the wording just didn’t come out right (which is my guess).
Look, I know America isn’t perfect, and I’d have to be living in a hole not to recognize that to the rest of the world, our politics seem irrational at best right now. (I LIVE here and it IS irrational, just saying) I can also make fun of the place I was born and raised because it is my home. We all see the cracks in the pavement, don’t we?
I think that at least for me, it is the idea that the band I have adored since childhood doesn’t seem to love where I live much when things are said that way. It stings a bit. As an American fan, I hope they at least like being here. I also hope they like us as people, especially given the sheer length of time we’ve supported the band. It matters, and yet I know in my head that Simon could not have meant it the way it came out. I have to hope not. It’s never a good feeling when one starts considering that perhaps it all just comes down to money. Yes, it is a business for them. For fans though, it is so much deeper.
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!