Tag Archives: Paper Gods

No rest for the weary?

When I last saw Duran Duran in July of this year, the shows were bittersweet. Of course I enjoyed seeing them. I always do. Yes, I’ve seen them perform that same setlist or very similar many times now, and in tours past I would comment on how I’d wish they’d change it up. I still have moments where I wish they’d pull something completely different out to surprise me, and sometimes – they have!  I don’t have a clear answer about why my attitude changed, only that it did. Instead of wishing for other music, I started really enjoying just being there with them and being thankful I can hear “Hungry Like the Wolf” one more time. My sadness came from knowing that it would be the last show for a while. I tried not to let that drag me down and soaked up as much joy as possible.

I assumed it would be at least a year or two before I saw the band again. Albums take a while to write and record, and who knows what would go on during the interim? Then of course, the show in Las Vegas was announced, along with one in Miami Beach for Sirius XM, and now Dubai in February.

First of all, I’m not going to Dubai. Let’s get that out-of-the-way right off the bat. I love Duran Duran. I love traveling. However. Yes, that one word says it all. HOWEVER. I’ll just be here cheering them on from home. Even I have my limits. As does my bank account, and these days, that limit is pretty darn narrow and close to home.

Second of all, is there no rest for the weary?  I asked that yesterday as the Dubai show was announced. I asked the question partly in jest, purely out of my surprise that they’re continuing to announce the odd show here or there. I figured that once the Paper Gods tour was complete, the band would drag themselves home, take several months respite, and go from there. I remember hearing that they would go back into the studio toward the end of this year for “fun”, and I also remember hearing that they might go into the studio next year to start the recording process once again, but I figured they’d still take time off. Thoughts of the upcoming 40th anniversary lingered in my head, and I figured the band would at least want to rest up before beginning that craziness. The lesson here, is to never assume anything about this band!

During the last hiatus in between All You Need is Now and Paper Gods, Amanda and I were anxious and ready for that band to hit the studio on Day One and keep going until a new album was placed in our hot little hands. This anxiousness wasn’t because we are part-time slave drivers, but because we had so much fun with All You Need is Now that we couldn’t stand the idea of that ending for long. Selfish? Probably, but our hearts were in the right place.

Fellow fans and readers were less-than-thrilled with our eagerness, saying that they didn’t mind having time in between projects and tours, and neither should we. Bank accounts needed refilling, and many cited that they had other priorities. “The band needs to rest!”, we were chided, over and over again. We started to feel bad that we missed “hanging out”—if for only two hours as they are onstage while we dance in the audience—with this crazy band we’ve loved since childhood. This time, I see plenty of people commenting on their anxiousness, eager to see any sign of studio work happening. Fans are excited by the prospects of the upcoming anniversary, even though the band themselves have not said much with regard to what fans might expect. It is a very different time in 2017. No one says much about the possibility of the band being tired from touring and performing, and that surprises me. What is different this time around?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea that the band isn’t going away, and that they seem to be doing a few one-off shows here and there. After all, we blog about them each day, and having things to write about makes my job far more interesting. I’m cheerfully surprised that it might not be several years before the world has the opportunity to see the band again. I love that fans are excited that they’re continuing to do a show here and there, and I’m tickled that so many are anxious for studio time and new music to be released. Equally, I am beyond thrilled that I will may have the chance to see my friends and the band again. I once told Dom that I was sad it would be five years before I likely saw him again, and that didn’t seem right.  It looks like it wasn’t right about that at all, and I don’t mind one bit.

My bank account, on the other hand, is very concerned. I’m a little surprised there’s not a giant “lock” emoji on the photo of my iPhone banking app at this point. I might just be imagining it, but I am pretty sure I see frowning faces pop up whenever I check my balance before making a purchase, concert-related or not!

Oh well, can’t make everybody happy all the time, right?

-R

November 2017 Katy Kafe with John Taylor!

Not much makes me happier during a lull than an invitation to listen to a shiny brand new Katy Kafe pop up in my news feed! This month, John takes a quick time out to chat with Katy, and I’ve got the highlights from the November 2017 Katy Kafe for you. Keep in mind, this is purely what I picked out, and with DD40 coming up – it might be time to get a membership to DDM so that you can stay up with all of the news that is sure to come!

What’s happening?

John comes to us from “the studio” in London, where he is working with Nick on a side project. Now whether this side project is the musical they’ve mentioned before, or something else, I’m not sure. John just says “it’s very different from what they’ve done in Duran Duran”…and I guess we’ll have to wait to hear more about it.

He mentions that they are going to be in Moscow (which they were earlier in the week) for the BRAVO award announcements where the band got back together and performed.

Ring in the New Year, Vegas-style

Katy also mentioned the upcoming Eve before New Years Eve show in Las Vegas, and asked John if he likes performing on New Years Eve. Emphatically, John answers with a quick, “YES” saying that he likes not having to worry about what he is going to do to entertain himself that night, and then almost just as quickly he adds a hasty, “but this is not on New Years Eve, it is the 30th, which means New Years Eve is still a problem that will have to be worked out.” Katy asks the question I was wondering myself, and that was whether or not John would stay in Vegas for New Years, to which he said he doesn’t know yet.

Apparently, Duran Duran has played on New Years Eve quite a bit over the years, citing the Savoy show in ’82 or ’83, and then the shows they did just outside of Washington DC last year in National Harbor. The band likes being on stage for New Years, and well….we really kind of like having them there, too!

There was a quick mention of whether this was really a final, final, Paper Gods date and John corrects Katy, saying that no, Paper Gods is finished. This is a standalone date. That leads to the obvious (Well, it’s obvious to me, anyway) follow-up about the set list. Will it change? John contends that they have to “err on the side of crowd favorites”. So, if you went to any of the Paper Gods shows and enjoyed hearing songs like Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film, and any of the rest of those hits that have been in previous set lists, there is good news: you’re gonna love this one too! He does say that it might be less interesting for diehard fans – and while I can’t disagree, I can say this: most of us already know this, and guess what? WE BUY TICKETS ANYWAY.  Why? Because it is exactly the type of party we all want to be at, and the party is what we make it!

Just imagine what we’d do when/if one of them came out and said it would be a show that no diehard should miss?!?

I shudder to consider the stampede…or how Ticketmaster might “handle” the demand.  Moving on…

What about 2018?

Here is what I find most interesting about this band: every single band member has a different story about the studio, and it’s comical! Since August, I have heard they’re going into the studio at the end of the year for something “fun” from Roger, something about going in after the new year from Simon, and now John says they’re “hoping” to go back in…with no real time specified.

So I don’t think anyone really knows. And that’s fine. Odd, but fine.

John does say that an album next year is unlikely. Given my experience as a fan of this band, I’d go one farther and say it’s nearly impossible. I’d be shocked, probably to the point of needing oxygen, if the band actually came out with even ONE SONG this year, much less an entire album.

In the meantime, John says they’re talking about the possibilities for recording a new album, including who they might be looking to collaborate with, or where they will record – insinuating that perhaps London might not be the birthplace for the next one.

This led to a question from Katy who asked if the band were to stumble upon that perfect song right away, would they release a stand-alone single or just wait for the album. Speaking purely for himself, John said maybe – citing that the marketing isn’t very good for one song. You don’t get TV or magazines for a single song, typically, so the promotion isn’t quite there. He surmises that they just have to be open to whatever happens.

Paper Gods

Looking back over Paper Gods, Katy wants to know if there are any songs that John wishes they had played. He mentions two that he wishes they had played more: “Universe Alone”, which they played towards the very end of the tour (and I have often wondered why they waited so long), and “You Kill Me with Silence”, which they only played once, at the Jimmy Kimmel show in Los Angeles.  He says that it is hard to find a spot for mid tempo songs in the live show because you only want 2 or 3 of them.  I get that, although I think YKMWS was overall a difficult song for Simon because of the wide vocal range it requires.

John says that he still feels the album was the best since their reunion, but quickly says that he knows they always say that. (and they do, but I get it. Besides, if you didn’t think you were improving as a band, wouldn’t you have quit by now?? Funny how clearly it all makes sense now as opposed when I first asked about why they say that!)

I know there are fans out there that completely disagree, and some that herald Paper Gods as being the best the band has ever done. There is no accounting for personal taste, I suppose. John adds that he doesn’t want to put down the others, citing both AYNIN and of course, RCM. I’ll just say that we all have our favorites, and from the outside looking in, I think the band learned a lot from Paper Gods. They grew professionally, and perhaps personally. That’s not a bad thing after thirty-five years in the industry. John ends by saying that while the album “took some doing”, they’re all “quite proud” of something that is definitely a “Duran Duran album”.  A thought that is neither stupid, nor self-indulging. John is right when he says it ticks off all of the boxes of what one would expect from Duran Duran, whether it is your favorite album or a little less-than. It’s quintessentially Duran, and we like that!

Simple, short and sweet – John bids his farewell until the year-end Kafe, which we are rapidly approaching. Does not seem possible!

-R

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Red Carpet Massacre!

I remember the first time I listened to a song from Red Carpet Massacre. It was Night Runner, and boy was I ever shocked. I think I was on the carpet, perched up on my knees in the very room I currently occupy. The evolution from den to nursery to office in ten years is a fairly good indicator of the changes my life has taken during that time, oddly enough.  On that day though, I sat up on my heels, listened to the opening notes, and then checked to make sure I was listening to the right band.

Night Runner was unlike anything I’d ever heard from Duran Duran before. Slow but deliberate, and wait, was that falsetto hovering about in the chorus?!? This was not the Duran Duran I thought I knew. Without even looking at the message boards to gauge how other fans felt, I took an immediate and visceral dislike to Night Runner. It was everything, including-but-not-limited-to-Justin-Timberlake, that I hated about music at the time. It was not one of my finest moments as a fan.  I cringed every single time I heard it.

Then Skin Divers came along. As I like to say, “they had me until the chorus”. It’s true. Musically, the song was brilliant. If only Timbaland had kept his “wicky-wicky” rapping out of it. Alas. I just did not know what this band was thinking, and with every interview or update where Nick or John would tell us the album was the greatest thing since sliced bread, my sense of dread grew into an ever-hardening pit in my stomach. What were they hearing that I just couldn’t?

When Red Carpet Massacre was released, I was almost relieved because the sense of impending doom was over. It took me time, but I did learn to enjoy “The Valley”, “Red Carpet Massacre”,  and even “Last Man Standing”, but I felt like I just couldn’t get on board with the album as a whole.  Thank goodness I wasn’t a blogger back then!

 

At the time, I was just so mad. Like a lot of fans I’ve spoken with in the years since, we felt like the band had completely ditched its original fan base in favor of a younger crowd.  I can remember seeing various people scoff at that comment, self-righteous and smug in their fired-off responses. The fact is – that’s kind of how fandom works. Some people really do take it all very personally, and while it can certainly be a double-edged sword, without those types of fans, bands (or just about anything else) don’t make it for long. Loyal fan bases are what carry bands, TV shows, sports teams, and pretty much anything else, through the tough times.

I still don’t really “get” a lot about the album, but I clearly see the direction in which they were headed. I have many reasons to appreciate the album’s place in Duran’s history. Hindsight can be a beautiful thing! I just don’t think they had the choice at the time to work with someone who not only saw where they were headed, but also appreciated where they had come from. They desperately needed someone with the ability to finesse the music and sound they wanted in a way that would actually suit the band.  But again – it’s only hindsight.

In many aspects, Red Carpet Massacre paved the way for Paper Gods.  They could have never written or effectively executed Paper Gods, had they not expanded their horizons with Red Carpet Massacre. I don’t know that the fan base would have been as ready to embrace Paper Gods, had we not had the experience we did with Red Carpet Massacre, either.

One difference between the two albums is that Paper Gods continues to embrace and celebrate who Duran Duran has always been, while looking ahead and challenging their fans. This is something that I’ve always loved about this band. They continually force me to expand the boundaries of how I (and every other fans) personally define who they are. Sometimes, I enjoy the process; other times, it makes me very uncomfortable until I get it. That’s art.

I find it hard to believe it has been ten years since Red Carpet Massacre was released. Like nearly every other album, in some ways it seems impossible to have been that long and in others, it feels like a lifetime. For my family – it has been. My youngest was born the April after the album was released, and on this very day in 2007, I was at home, incubating away! Now she’s nine-and-a-half, and reminds me every single day of why I fear the teen years that lay ahead!

Happy anniversary to Red Carpet Massacre! One thing that album, and even Paper Gods, to some extent, has taught me, is to never second guess what this band will do next!

-R

Good seats, white flags and the Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party

Sometimes, I can be so naive it ends up being a little embarrassing.  Yesterday morning, I participated in the pre-sale for The Cosmopolitan in Vegas. I knew going in that the show was probably going in high demand, but I felt that with the DDM VIP membership, I’d have half a chance at good seats.

Let me define “good seats” for you, because I suspect my definition might be different from yours. Basically, I want to be closer to the front, not necessarily front row probably within the first ten rows, and in the middle. I’ve sat on both sides before, and while they’re not terrible, I like the middle best. Chances are, this has something to do with Amanda’s favorite being John and mine being Dom. Middle is what suits us, as the compromise. Before each pre-sale, we call one another and decide on how far over we’re going to be wiling to go, and how far back we’re willing to sit.

This time, since purchasing VIP meant that I’d be giving up food for the next few weeks (joking), we felt that spending $400 a ticket on something like 8th row was too much. That doesn’t mean that one of you should feel terrible for doing so, its just OUR limit. Yours can be different and that’s fine. No judgment.

Our trouble began when we found out the password was “Simon”. I joke, but Amanda and I agreed the pre-sale would either go really well, or be a disaster, and if it was the latter, Simon cursed us.

Dammit!!

From the get-go, neither of us were getting the VIP packages to show up once the sale began. Then once they did show up, we quickly tried clicking on seats. We’d select the tickets only to be told they couldn’t process the transaction. Then we’d get bounced out of the pre-sale and would have to re-enter the password, only to see that the seats we’d just try to buy were still available. We did this for five or ten minutes, panicking the entire time. I decide to tweet Duran Duran and tell them that I think the system is broken.

This is where my naivety came in. First, I was dumb enough to believe that anyone at DDHQ or DDM actually cared. Yeah, I know I wrote all about how they care yesterday. That was before pre-sales and as I said yesterday – this part IS business. The truth of the matter is, it’s not their system. It’s Ticketmaster’s system. DDHQ couldn’t fix it even if they knew what was wrong. I know that.  I just thought they should know that no one seemed to be getting anything. Secondly, never once during all of this did I consider that perhaps it’s just bad luck on my end. I wasn’t meant to get tickets today. Some people get them, others don’t. This happens for every single resale.  I just thought something was really wrong, like a server issue. What was probably really “wrong” was that other people, whether bots, scalpers or real people with quicker computers or phones or whatever, were probably grabbing the tickets from me. I was stupid in thinking that once I selected the tickets, they were in my basket. Nope.

This happened over and over again for over a half-hour. Never mind that it continued to require me to type Simon’s name over and over and over again, which was also really stupid. I suppose those are all measures to stop bots and scalpers, but I doubt it.

Then suddenly, I had third row seats. I was able to get through to the next screen to begin the actual payment process, and then Ticketmaster decided I needed to log in. I was amused at first because I’d already logged in and even in the corner of the screen it said “Hi Rhonda”. Yep, that’s me, I thought. It’s STILL me, motherfucker!! 

(I curse like a sailor during pre-sales and today I was pretty damn tame until that moment. My mother would not be proud.)

So, I typed in my password.

Nope, Ticketmaster didn’t recognize that combination. OK, try it again. Type slower, Rhonda.

Nope, still doesn’t get it. I take a deep, cleansing breath. Ok, asshole hamster working behind the scenes….I am the same freaking person I was an hour ago when you let me log on. GIVE ME MY TICKETS!  Why do I even have to log in? Can’t I just be a guest??!

(Yes, the song “Be Our Guest” came into my head at that moment.  Get your head in the game, Rhonda, I thought firmly, trying to redirect myself from the ear worm. You have no time for Disney movies, you’re buying Duran Duran tickets!!) 

Amanda saves me at this point from throwing my laptop. She suggests I use her password. Surely that will work, I thought.  I type very, very, carefully.

Nope. I try mine again. Denied again. It now says I’m locked out of my account. Bye-bye tickets. My stomach begins to do flip-flops and I can feel myself suddenly get very tired and a cold, clammy feeling washes over me. I am worried that if I keep trying Amanda’s, she’ll be locked out as well, so I stop. I tell her to keep trying, and I set about requesting a new password from Ticketmaster. Oddly, they sent it to me right away, even though I’d been locked out. I reset my password, time ticking right by. I logged back on. Everything seemed normal, except there were no VIP package seats available whatsoever.

From then on, I pulled nothing that was VIP.  Keep in mind, we are now about 40 minutes into the pre-sale. The realization that I’m not going to be getting VIP seats to this gig begins to dawn. I tell Amanda I’m done, that I just won’t go, this is a sign from the universe, and that I’m too tired to go on.

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

While all of this was happening, the other two people in our four person extravaganza struck gold. Literally, because they pulled two good seats in the third-row for themselves. Amanda and I were happy for them, but we were feeling pretty dejected at the same time. I mean, it sucks when things don’t go right. That’s not just me being a poor sport, it’s reality. It’s a bummer when you can’t get what you want. Ticketmaster and I are no longer friends, and I’m really not sure we ever were.

One of our friends sends a text, “Do you want us to keep looking for you?” I’m halfway tempted to say no, that I’m staying the hell home and that I hated Duran Duran, which is untrue on even the worst of days.  I didn’t really hate them. I hate the process. Trust the process,  my ass. (Sorry John.) I’m sick of this pre-sale nonsense. But I said none of that. Instead I said “Sure.” I figured they wouldn’t find anything or they’re just being kind, or that like us – they’d see tickets, select them, and be told they couldn’t complete the transaction at that time.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I continued to go through the motions of selecting, being denied, refreshing the “best available tickets”, entering the magic word (I have never typed Simon’s name so many times in a single day. Ever!), selecting different but still good seats, and being continuously denied. It was awful, and as Amanda cheerfully pointed out, “The very definition of insanity.”

I did not laugh or share her cheer. Instead, I groaned.

Our friends texted back saying they’d found a pair of tickets but they were way off to one side, and then another pair to the other side at the very edge of the stage. Nope. While we wanted to be at the show, neither of us felt comfortable paying $400 for tickets that were going to be staring at speakers or the wings of the stage. Picky? Probably so, but again – they’re our standards, they don’t have to be yours. I was just about to say goodbye to Amanda and head out to a piano lesson when I got another text about good seats in the sixth row, just to the right of middle by a few chairs. They were good, just back a pinch more than we’d agreed initially, but things change over the course of a pre-sale!

“Take them”, Amanda said. I could hear the white flag being raised in her voice. We were both pretty spent.

We’re going. We have good seats. We’re not complaining about our seats at all. The process though, kicked our asses.  While I’d heard about bots and scalpers buying up seats en mass before, I haven’t ever had this much of a problem getting VIP tickets in the past. It was a genuine mess for us this time.

Later on, someone pointed out to me that it was just bad luck, not operational issues.  They felt I shouldn’t have tweeted the band about it because it made me seem whiny. This person continued to say “It was your turn, and about time for you to have bad luck.”  The insinuation was made that Amanda get to do more than anyone else in this fan community and that they’re sick of seeing it. First of all, we don’t go to everything. We do what we can do. You do what you can do. But to go around wishing for one of us or the other to have bad luck is just mean.  I know that life isn’t always easy or peachy keen for either Amanda or me, but perception is everything. Point taken.

Sometimes pre-sales are really hard, and other times Duran Duran and/or the venue doesn’t use Ticketmaster as the agency and it all goes smoothly. We don’t expect to have good seats every single time. Overall though, Amanda and I aren’t going to be salty (my new favorite word, courtesy of my son) about this. We’re going to Vegas. We’re going to hang out over the holidays, exchange our gifts in person and drink at our own freaking Daily Duranie holiday office party, and everyone is going to be invited. What could be better than that?!

-R

 

 

You’ve Got That Thing That Makes Us Smile

I love the days when the blogs just write themselves. 🙂

I hopped on Twitter and Facebook this morning before preparing myself to do battle with a pre-sale a bit later. Blogging is an issue today because I’m short on time. I had no idea what I’d write about, primarily because writing about pre-sales, or the aftermath, is so passé. Been there, written it a thousand times. I’m sure I’m probably do it again. Just not today. Maybe. Oh, and yes, I’m participating in the presale I told Durandy not TWO days ago I was rethinking.

I just can’t stay home. It’s that simple. Let’s hope the ticket gods are kind.

To my surprise, Duran Duran posted a fan video this morning for Face For Today. Now, this is not your ordinary music video tribute to Duran Duran. No, this is truly a FAN video, and if you watch it, you’ll see why. For me though, I could get no further than 2.5 seconds into it before I felt some strange gooey feeling go through me. I suspect it might have been my ice-cold heart melting, but I’m not sure. 😀

(I know it’s wrong to include emojis in a blog. I don’t care.)

I don’t want to ruin it for everyone, but if you haven’t watched it, you should.

Addressing what I’m thinking or feeling right now without making too much comment is a challenge.  I’ll start here: over the years, I’ve seen a lot of comments from fans saying that the band doesn’t care. In fact, I have made comments similar to that (I actually think those very words have come out of my mouth from time to time, if not my fingers here on this blog). For fans, it is shockingly easy to come to that revelation. We all sometimes feel very far removed, and the music business itself isn’t really set up for human emotion at times. It’s run like, well, a sometimes vile and filthy business. I think that while fans forget that this is all about the career of four or five people (many others behind the scenes, I might add), the true business of Duran Duran may sometimes forget that fans are people. We’re not just dollar signs in the appropriate column, or part of a target demographic. We also aren’t just complaint bubbles with faces attached. The scenario is equal parts push and pull.

During the rarest golden moments, all of that extraneous, icky stuff that blinds us all falls away. We’re left to see one another, our faces beautifully vulnerable and real. That’s what this video is about, and I loved every minute of it.

The band cares. They can’t always show it in the same way that I cannot break down every single time a child hurts themselves at recess, or cries in kindergarten because they miss mommy, or is in emotional pain because my office is the only place they feel safe. That doesn’t mean I’m emotionless, it just means that sometimes we have to get the job done, still preserving a little something for ourselves at the end of the day.

Sometimes, it’s nice to see that those four guys: Simon, John, Nick and Roger, see us. They know we’re there even if they can’t always acknowledge it. I won’t copy their words, but the music really is between us. Nothing, and I mean it when I type the word nothing, in my life has ever inspired me more than witnessing the phenomenon of what happens when people come together to celebrate a band and their music.

Amanda and I aren’t in this video. We are just a couple of idiots who saw the call go out for selfies, and never got it together. Truth be told, in my own head – I saw no point if I couldn’t take a picture with her.  I never said these words to anyone, but without offense to the band, we’re a package deal. My face is really nothing without hers when it comes to this band. I can barely remember a time when I didn’t know her and our lives didn’t revolve (somewhat) around Duran Duran. Besides, in some weird way, I kind of like that this video is about everyone else. Yes, we’re fans, but YOU, dear reader, are the real story.

I saw so many familiar faces in that video, and yes, it made me smile. So many beautiful people from all over the world uniting. If that’s not inspiring, well, I just don’t know.

-R

 

The First World Problem of Front Row

So the pre-sale for Vegas is tomorrow. Amanda and I, along with our touring buddies, have a plan. The general plan is simple: get tickets.

Let’s be honest here, shall we? I mean, I’ve already admitted I’m an addict—so really, there’s no holding back now. Why bother? I’d love front row. Who wouldn’t? There isn’t much that is more intoxicating than being in front of the band and having them lock eyes with you. Unless of course you’re a straight guy, of course. Somehow, I don’t think it’s the same for them in that respect and hey, that’s cool. But truly, to be there, in the moment, with that electricity swirling about in spitting distance from the stage (yes, I said that), is something special.

Is it worth $500 or more, though?

(I winced as I typed that, just so you know.)

Here’s the thing – I know that some people will pay $500 or even more and not even blink. I have actually come close to paying it myself. Sometimes though, I have to wonder if I’m being stupid about the entire thing. It’s a lot of money. a LOT. Is it better to do one or two shows and have awesome seats, or is it better to do ten shows and sit back about ten rows? It’s the question I tangle with each and every time concerts are announced. Fifteen years ago, I would have bought ONE VIP ticket for the entire tour. The rest of the time, I would have sat wherever I could get tickets, and that likely meant back in the second or third sections away from the stage. Having seats in the 13th row would have been amazing!! But then in 2012, something miraculous happened. I ended up in the front row at a show. The first time, I was so in awe, I stood there, frozen to the rail. The second time, I let myself go completely and it was the best concert experience I’d ever had, until the next time it happened…and the next.

I’ve been in second and third row, too. The feeling is incredible. And addicting. Obviously. But its expensive. Not as cost prohibitive as the front, but the sticker shock is still painful. As much as I appreciate the intensity of the fan experience from front row,  there is a small part of my brain whispering furiously at me that I should have NEVER sat in that front row (or even second or third row) to begin with, because now that I’ve been up there, nothing else lives up!

#firstworldproblems , right? I know. I’m lucky to have even had the chance, don’t get me wrong. Some people in the world have no clean drinking water, and I’m here writing about feeling like I’ve got to have front row. It’s freaking annoying of me, and how dare I have the audacity to address such a trivial thing. Yep, all of that is 100% truth.

Guess what? Right now, you’re reading a daily blog about being a fan. I’m writing it, but you, my friend, are reading it. Welcome. Try the Kool-Aid, it’s great!

So the struggle is real for us, the Duran Duran addicts. I’m assuming there might be a few more than just me out there in the world, circling about. I don’t actually know what will happen tomorrow (isn’t there a song about that??), but I do know that I’ve already got a hotel room booked, and other plans made. Even if I were to end up with zero tickets in my cart – which is always a possibility – I’m still going to Vegas that weekend. I’ll be the seat warmer at the bar, and that might actually be more expensive for me than going to the show in the long run! (Actually, that’s the excuse I’m gonna use when my husband asks about the price of my tickets!!)

-R

 

 

 

 

 

My Name is Rhonda, and I am an addict.

 

My name is Rhonda, and I am an addict.

On Tuesday I ran across a rumor. You may have heard or seen it yourself, although I didn’t see many people talking about it. Apparently word was out that Duran had plans to play at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on December 30th. Like many of you, I rolled my eyes. Sure they were coming all the way back here again this year, I thought. Definitely. Just as soon as they send me a personal invite.

I put down my phone and began my typical morning tasks: coffee, feeding my zoo, and getting myself to work in a timely manner. I begin thinking about this rumor more and more as I finish greeting students at our gate in the morning and walk back to my “office”(which is actually a library and I sit at a folding table…which is the OPPOSITE of glamorous).

They couldn’t possibly come back again, right? Even IF they are, there’s no way I’m going. After all, its New Years. I can’t see them playing one show. One show? That’s dumb! It’s so much hassle to bring equipment here… Nah, I can’t see it. And even IF this is true, there’s no way I’m mentioning this to Walt. He’s at his wit’s end with this stupid band as it is. 

I get on to attendance, clearing out old files, and setting up new students in my system. It is kind of slow day, the first I’ve really had this school year, which is weird.  I decide to send Amanda a text, because yes – I am an addict.

I hesitate to use the words “Duranie Alert” in my text because A. it’s just a rumor, no matter how solid my friend thinks it is,  and B. that’s like pulling the fire alarm when there’s not really a fire. It seems funny to watch everyone scramble at the time, but in the end, somebody is sitting in the principal’s office and the next time you really NEED to sound the alarm, maybe no one will respond. So, I just tell her what I know. I suspect she takes extra long to answer because she’s laughing at the very thought of this show seriously happening, (not at all because she’s actually trying to do her job or something, right??)  I know better than to think she’d actually believe such a thing. I mean, it’s ridiculous, right?

She sends back a text, saying that if it’s true, we should go.

Go? What do you mean, GO? It’s the freaking holidays, Amanda! Have you lost your mind?!? There’s no way. 

Then I think back to last November. She made plans to go to Maryland without me. It was painful, but there was no changing my husband’s mind or the lack of cash in my bank account then. This year isn’t a ton different, but if they were playing in Vegas, I might be able to just drive. I mean, it’s only four hours. What’s four hours? Nothing, when you’re an addict.

No. There’s no way. We’re paying for both kids to go to school. Money is always tight around the holidays. Besides, we don’t even know if they’re really playing!! 

So I do what any normal person might. I break the news to my husband over dinner. Poor guy is in the middle of chewing when I casually mention the ridiculous rumor of Duran Duran playing on the 30th, and quickly follow the comment with “But of course I’m not going to go. I mean, that’d be crazy. I have a husband. It’s the holidays. We spend New Year’s Eve together every year…even if we don’t go anywhere or do anything and it’s really boring…..” I trail off, waiting for a declaration of war, or stony silence, which in our house, is basically the same thing.

“Would you want to go spend that time with your friends and I could just figure on doing something else?”

I pinched myself under the table to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, but he was serious. I laugh it all off, because this has to be some sort of trick question. If I say “Yes”, I’m the world’s worst spouse (probably already true). If I say “No”, then I’m stuck at home for sure. I’m also half-wondering why he’s so eager to let me go and what it means by ” doing something else”, but I let that go. 

I answer by not answering. “Let’s wait and see if this is really even a thing. It’s probably not even happening.” I roll my eyes and laugh, probably a little too nervously, and a little too heartily now that I think about it. He looks down his glasses at me, which DRIVES ME NUTS. I try not to grimace, and smile back at him.

The next morning, which is Wednesday, I get up and am greeted by a text from Amanda.

I checked hotels last night—I should not have,  but they weren’t too bad.

The plane ticket will be expensive but I won’t worry about that.

Wait, we’re at plane tickets already? We don’t even know if this show is happening!!

I answer back saying something about checking hotel prices and how that’s going to be a fortune, and mention that I’m seeing other cryptic messages from Duranies. We agree to keep a look out, and we both get back to work.  I send out a random tweet. Why? Because I’m an addict.

“TMW you start planning in advance for the thing you said you weren’t going to do yesterday.”

People “like” the tweet, which makes me smile.

I assume these people don’t realize that I’m an addict. Then again, maybe they know.  It’s fine, I know I am, too. I’ve got it perfectly under control. Totally. 

Amanda and I text throughout the day because the more I’m seeing, the more convinced I am that something is happening. That same friend who broke the news has now called The Cosmopolitan and is told that they don’t book corporate shows during that week.  Also during the day, I’ve taken the time to contact our two travel buddies and shared the rumor about the show we have no idea will happen.

One of our friends lives in Vegas and is very skeptical this show is a “thing”. Even so, she’s going to check in with some friends she knows and see if they’ve heard anything. While all of this is going on, Amanda and I have texted back and forth hundreds, if not thousands of times. Oddly, very little cursing was done. Most of it was me explaining why I simply cannot go, and then proceeding to make plans to attend. All the while Amanda is saying that she’ll believe the rumor when she sees it from DDHQ. Then we make plans on when we’ll arrive and where we’ll stay, and whether or not we think our friends are going to join us and split the cost of the room.  We divide up our in-room alcohol Costco-run, and talk about to-go cups and lids that fit. Why?  Because that’s how we roll, my friends.

Fast forward to 6:32 pm my time on Thursday night. I am sitting in a parent meeting for my daughter’s choir group. They’re planning a VERY EXPENSIVE trip to San Francisco, and we parents are being given the budget. I am sitting, furiously punching numbers into my phone calculator app, hoping to make sense of how I’m going to pay for this crazy trip. My phone rings. Loudly. It’s Amanda…and what is her ringtone?

Oh you BET it’s Planet Earth. She almost never calls, and certainly not at 6:32 pm my time. I have to decline the call, because, well…parent meeting. I know exactly why she’s calling, because my friends, I am a Duranie. I silently shake my head slowly, and try to concentrate on instructions for how to register my child for this trip. My mind, however, is wandering in the direction of the UK. My phone buzzes. It’s Amanda, texting me. I take a deep breath, knowing exactly what she’s going to say.

It is official. That show is happening.

It has been awhile since I could send an official Duranie alert. 

At first, I close my eyes and think of all the things I’d like to say to the band if they were in front of me. Some of those things are not nice, and I admit that. I love them, I hate their planning. I love that they come here, I hate that I’m funding their retirement. I love their music, I hate that I’m addicted to their live show. Well, maybe not “hate”. Strongly dislike?  Disapprove? No… I hate that their shows cost me money. That’s it!  I open my eyes, and see that yes, the meeting is still going on. Am I actually absorbing ANY of this?? Probably not. 

I put my head down and write back, because now my mind has already boarded a plane headed for England (never mind that this is a Vegas show).

I am sitting in a parent meeting for a trip where I am going to have to spend thousands. Good lord.

Eww.

That isn’t okay. 

So of course that show is happening. 

Yep.

She sends me the email she just got, which was sent to anyone who bought VIP tickets for Las Vegas on the Paper Gods tour. Basically, the email was designed to give those of us who plunked down a wad of cash to see the band before a heads up –  we’re gonna have the opportunity to do it all again.  They don’t mention venue or cost, but the date was right, and it’s happening. I read the email, even though I’m still in that parent meeting. I take a deep cleansing breath and respond to Amanda.

I am going to cry.

Of course I didn’t. But I felt like it. Sometimes, it’s hard to be Duranie. I am weak. My willpower is just, well, it’s non-existent. I’m an addict. But I’ve got it totally under control.

The following day is Friday, and it is our normal Skype conference day. Amanda and I are working on a big project – our paper that we will present in March—and so we chat nearly once a week about real things. Not shows, not gossip, just our work. Well, mostly not anything but our work. Mostly.

By the end of the four-hour Skype session, we’d booked our hotel, checked flights, and even booked an extra day so that Amanda isn’t just flying here for two days. I mean, we can’t have that, right?  We talked about what we want to do while we’re in Vegas, who we hope to see….

All for a show that we do not currently have tickets for.

We also did some work.

On Sunday morning, I checked my email. Sure enough, there’s the email from DDM, letting me know all about the show, the pre-sale on Wednesday, and that I might need to consider selling body parts in order to attend, because yes, I’m an addict.

My friend tweets that he’s hearing tickets will be $250 as a base price. VIP Ultimate Front Row is $300 plus ticket price.  That means front row will be a spendy $550.  If he is right, and I have no reason to assume he’s wrong, that’s more than Hollywood Bowl. VIP Gold – rows 2-8, will cost $150 plus ticket price, so that’s a beautiful $400.

How about blood? At this point, I’m willing to donate perfectly good blood and/or kidneys. Anyone willing to buy a husband? I’ve got one!! I might start selling my jewelry collection on eBay, too.  I mean, why not?  Could I sell some of Walt’s tools…I mean, he hardly uses them. He might not even notice! 

I’m sitting here with a couple of questions in my head. One of which is how I’m going to afford this show. The other though is that if the band and Katy already said that the Paper Gods tour is over, does that mean we’re going to get a different set at this show??

I’m an addict. Who else would write 2046 words about a show announcement? I’ve totally got it under control, though.

-R

The Art of Being Impatient

I am a fairly impatient person, by just about any standards. My children, sibling, and parents, in particular, are well-aware of this character flaw. I can remember my dad looking at me and calmly saying “patience, Rhonda” when I was young. Those memories make me smile because I would never use the word “patient” to describe him, but I suppose he was just trying to stop me from making the same mistakes he did.

Sorry, Dad. I try.

I didn’t realize just how impatient I was until I became a blogger. All is fine when you’re writing about something that is constantly making news, but when you’re trying to write a daily blog about a band that has been stuck in the studio for two years and doesn’t really give a lot of updates, it can be a challenge. That wasn’t something I thought about when I came up with the concept for Daily Duranie, mind you! In any case, both Amanda and I grew tired of waiting, and said so on the blog. It felt monotonous, even as the first month away from the road drew to a close, and I knew I was in trouble. It isn’t as though DD comes out with new albums on a yearly basis – and we didn’t really expect otherwise at the time. We just missed them, I suppose, and were fairly vocal (or wordy) about it here. Fellow fans chided us in response, saying that we were being ridiculous, overly negative or yes – extremely impatient.

Maybe so.

When Paper Gods finally neared its release, I was overjoyed. I had things to write about! Once again, blogging became a bit easier, there seemed to be an overabundance of blog-worthy topics to choose from. Life was good, if not easy.

Amanda commented over the weekend about some of the challenges she’s had with blogging during Durantime. I would concur. There are hours when it is still pretty easy and the words flow (like now), and yet I have no doubt that moments will come down the road a bit where I’m struggling to think of something to write. It happens, and it is symbolic of the blessing and curse of a daily blog. I’d like to think that now, seven years in, I am better about how I handle those moments. Time will soon tell.

Today I was looking over Tweetdeck in search of something that might spur my creativity. It is how I begin most days, actually. I saw that more than one person tweeted at Duran Duran, telling them they want them to get back at it in the studio.

I laughed as I saw the tweets. I know this feeling of impatience when it comes to Duran Duran. I’m sure we all do, to some extent. Many of us are likely still feeling the burn in our back pockets from the last tour, but still others are anxious. I dare say we might have awhile. They haven’t been home for even a month yet, and it might be asking a little much for them to be headed back into the studio already. Roger did say that they plan to go in towards the end of the year….for fun…whatever that might mean.

This time, I’m a little less impatient. I’m thankful that I’m working outside of the home now because I have less time to think, fixate, or what-have-you. I’m also not really writing on a regular basis outside of the blog, although I should be committing more time each week to bonding with a project I’m working on.  Basically, it all just means I’m not obsessing 24/7 about all that is Duran Duran. Overall, I’m glad I’m doing other things. Time goes by fast, and before you know it, we’ll be talking about #DD40 in earnest!

-R

Before We Write the End: New Territory

Today, I am charting new territory. It is the first full day I’m here at home with only one child. I won’t lie, there have been various moments over the years that I’ve fantasized about how it would be with just one. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that it has been 19 years since I have only had one child, since my kids are so far apart in age. The first two are only 2 and a half years apart, but the youngest came along about nine years later. Yes, I’m aware that had we stopped at two, I’d be an empty nester right now. I’m so glad we didn’t. I’m not ready.

I recognize that this has nothing to do with Duran Duran as far as you’re concerned. The funny thing is that for me, it does. When we first began writing about Paper Gods, I was moving my oldest to college. I distinctly remember that the day we moved Heather to the dorms. It was a very hard day for me, I remember driving home alone, and crying in the car on the way. I knew my life as a mom would change after that, and it did. I’m still learning where the line is drawn, so to speak. It is very hard to be unceremoniously made redundant, which is kind of what happens when your children leave the nest. I will forever equate the release of Paper Gods with that moment in time.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to pack Gavin up for his move to UC Riverside, right as the Paper Gods tour has wound to a close. I half-paid attention to the band’s last dates in Japan, getting confused as to where they were and when.  Sunday morning arrived here, and I saw a tweet from Dom saying he was back home in London. The finality of it all hit me, particularly since yesterday was our move-in day. We packed up the bins that we’d used for Gavin’s things, and drove him out to his new home away from home.

His move was FAR easier than Heather’s. We were done with his room in less than an hour, and none of us felt like we were going to collapse from heat exhaustion. (props to the air conditioning in the dorms at UCR!)  Unlike my oldest, after he dutifully went to lunch with us and we came back to his room, he was ready for us to go. No tears, no anxiety. He hugged us all and sent us on our way, with no mention of how he wouldn’t see us again until November at the earliest. Gavin was never much for socializing, but not hearing movement upstairs from him is strange, and late November feels like a very long time from now.

We piled into the truck and headed for home. I thought about how weird it is that now I’ll probably always remember that the Paper Gods era ended with Gavin’s move to college. I also thought about how I really hoped I prepared my son for this new territory, and how once again, I’m also in uncharted land myself.

My house is quiet. I can’t hear Gavin in his bedroom. I don’t hear the clicks from his typing on the mechanical keyboard he loves so much. I don’t hear him talking on the professional microphone he uses for his video streams, and I don’t hear his chair banging into his desk. I also don’t see his dishes piled in my kitchen sink or his clothes waiting to be washed this morning. I have one child at home now, who is both looking forward to being the only child for a while, and missing her brother and sister. It’s all new territory for her, too.

The internet is quiet too. The band is probably readjusting back into whatever lives they lead when they’re not rockstars on stage. I don’t know when we’ll hear from them again, although there’s plenty of “real life” going on to fill my twitter timeline, that is for sure. Even so, there’s that feeling of uncertainty that comes with the end of the tour and album cycle. I know they’ve got some sort of idea of where they’re headed, but it will be months, if not years, before the fans have any sort of clue. It’s new territory for all of us.

-R

I’ll See You in Some Other Lifetime

Yesterday marked the final show for Duran Duran’s Paper Gods Tour as the band finished the tour in Osaka, Japan.  The Paper Gods Tour began in the fall of 2015 and carried through until September 2017.  Of course, there were plenty of breaks but still.  The band played quite a few shows.  As I looked at the pictures and setlist, I thought back to 2008 when I saw the final show of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour.  I remember Simon commenting about how it would be the final time for the outfits, the setlist and more.  This made me wonder what will never be seen again, what made the Paper Gods Tour a unique one.

Planet Earth with Bowie Tribute

For a long while, the band interjected David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity, into their classic hit, Planet Earth, in order to honor one of their heroes and a musical legend.

Sunrise with New Moon on Monday

Another mash-up was New Moon on Monday in the middle of Sunrise.  I know that I loved this each and every time I saw it!

Rio with beach balls and confetti

While I loved the festive confetti at the end of Rio, I cannot say that I was ever a big fan of those beach balls that distracted me and hurt when they landed on my head!  Nonetheless, when I think of Paper Gods, I cannot think of Rio in any other way.

Too Much Information

I remember the first time I heard the 2015 version of Too Much Information live.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  It seemed so fast!  After hearing it a couple of time, I liked it.

Love Voodoo

Another song that the band pulled out from the Wedding Album for this tour was Love Voodoo.  I never had the chance to hear it myself but others seemed to enjoy it.

Hold Back the Rain

Duran definitely pleased a lot of fans when they busted out Hold Back the Rain in 2017.  Obviously, it is a definite fan favorite!  I noticed that the Japan shows had screens showing old footage of the band, which I think is super cool!

Paper Gods:

Of course, the band featured quite a few numbers from their latest album.  As is their tradition, they opened up the show with Paper Gods, which featured smoke, lyrics flashing through a forest of sorts on the video screen.

The other songs that the band included from this album were Last Night in the City, You Kill Me with Silence, Pressure Off, Face for Today, Danceophobia, What are the Chances, Only in Dreams and the Universe Alone.  Some of these stick out to me more than others for various reasons.

Last Night in the City

To me, this song represented touring and all that it means to me.  I loved the use of the fabulous backing vocals of Anna and Erin and/or Jessie.  It was always fun live!

Pressure Off

Pressure Off is such an incredibly fun song!  Seeing it performed live with Nile Rodgers and confetti almost made the song too fun to stand it!!!

Danceophobia

I cannot say that this is a favorite from the album, but seeing it live definitely made me think fondly of it.  After all, John Taylor’s dancing made the song worth it each and every time.

What Are the Chances

I simply adore this song.  It’s not usually the type of song that I’m drawn to but this one is something special.  One element that enhanced the song to me was the beautiful visuals that accompanied this song live.

The Universe Alone

This is one song that I never expected the band to play live.  It is an intense one and one that screams emotionality.  Yet, they put it together with Save a Prayer this year to give quite an emotional punch at the end of the show.

Now, as we move on to the other side of Paper Gods, none of us know what will happen from here.  I suspect that it will be different from the Paper Gods era or any of the previous eras.  Will any of these Paper Gods songs continue in a set list?  I don’t know.  Will the band’s outfits remain as they have been?  I don’t know.  (I couldn’t resist one final comment about the clothes!  They have provided us with quite a few smiles and laughs in the last few years—all with love, I assure you!)  On a personal level, I had so much fun and loved so much of this era.  I will miss it.

What about the rest of you?  What sticks out to you when it comes to the Paper Gods era?

-A