Tag Archives: Paper Gods

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

Makes Me Curious

Did you listen to the Katy Kafe this week featuring Roger Taylor?  I did and blogged about it on Friday.  Sometimes, a word, a sentence or a detail from those Kafes stick with me.  That is the case with this one, which is funny because it wasn’t very long or did not feature a ton of news on the Duran front.  Yet, it did give one juicy tidbit.  Duran Duran is planning on returning to the studio before the end of the year.

According to Roger, the band is planning to return to the studio for some “fun” (his word) but it might not be a new album.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I keep thinking about what exactly that might mean.

After the All You Need Is Now album cycle, I felt a sort of desperation for the band to keep active.  That album spoke to me and felt like Duran had embraced themselves and their fans.  Many fans seemed to be active on social media and expressed a lot of happiness about their fandom during that time.  While I say that, I recognize that it wasn’t a complete utopia and I knew that even then.  Nonetheless, things felt good to me and I really believed that Duran was on the “right track,” whatever that means.  Then, of course, the time between that album and Paper Gods rolled around.  2012 turned to 2013 then to 2014.  That tiny sliver of desperation I felt seemed to be growing.  I often blogged in response to this feeling.  Many took some of those blogs as complaining and not being understanding of the creative process.  I kept trying to explain that it had more to do with my concern over their success and the fear that if they took too long, the fans wouldn’t remain.  Those blogs always came from love, despite my flaws.

In hindsight, a lot of it had to do with my own fear that the band wouldn’t come back or that when they did come back, too much would have changed to feel the same.  The fun wouldn’t follow.  In reality, this had a lot more to do with me.  Things were not always ideal in my world and I was putting a lot of my hope and joy onto fandom.  I needed to have something to look forward to, something to give me happiness and not much in my life was beyond fandom.  This combined with the fact that Rhonda and I took our fandom to a more serious level by not only blogging but organizing meet ups and a weekend long convention.  Fandom took on a greater role in my life.

Now, we are witnessing the last dates of the Paper Gods Tour and era.  This time, things seem to be different.  On a personal level, I’m aware of what happened last time and how I reacted and why.  I also understand creative process work in a different way now than I did in 2013.  I have vowed to give them as much time as they need for whatever exactly they are going to do next.  Yes, the plan is just to give as much support as I can.  Funny enough, though, the band seems different this time, too.  The fact that they are planning to go into the studio indicates this.  It doesn’t sound like it will be years between Paper Gods and whatever is next.  (While I type that sentence, I hear many of you pointing out Durantime.  That may be true but I, again, will be positive throughout it all.)  Of course, while the band is planning to return to recording, Roger says that it might not be a “new album”.  So, what could it be?

I have no idea what exactly the band is going to be doing in the studio.  In order to figure it out, I have thought the band’s career.  Is there anything that they have had in the past that could give us an idea?  Maybe.  At times, the band has released a single in between albums.  I’m thinking about songs Iike Is There Something I Should Know or Wild Boys.  Could they think about writing and recording a song to be included on a re-issue or on a live album?  What about a album of remixes or another greatest hits album?  While they have never done a real EP, or smaller album, they could do one now.  Maybe that would be good.

Of course, one factor that makes this time unique is that the 40th anniversary is coming up.  Could that be the factor that is pushing the band back into the studio?  Could they be doing something special for that?  What about the idea of going through some of those demos that we know were close to being ready and finishing them?  I can only imagine that the band has a lot of work out there that could be completed and sent out into the world.  If they did an album of those, that might not be considered a “new” album?  I’m not sure.  Roger sure left me with more questions by this piece of news.

While I’m prepared to be patient and supportive through this time between Paper Gods and whatever come next, I wouldn’t mind getting a little something to ease the anticipation.  I’m okay if it is a song or two or an EP or an album featuring previously unreleased demos.  Whatever and whenever it is going to be, I’m looking forward to it.

-A

Sets You on a Path

Do you think you are always aware of turning points in your life?  I think there are some days that are significant enough that you know that they are a big deal.  Then, there are days that you look back and recognize them as essential to determining your path, after the fact. For me, I look back at the 2004 Friends of Mine Convention in New Orleans as being one of those days.  It was just supposed to be a fun event to attend.  Turns out that it changed my life.  After all, I met Rhonda that day.  Beyond getting a best friend from it, it changed my fandom.  I probably would have a gone to a few shows during the Astronaut tour and that would have been it.  Maybe, my fandom would have continued through 2006 or even 2007.  I’m willing to bet that it would have faded without her.  (For the record, I’m sure she would say the same.)  I doubt either one of us would have gone to as many shows as we have and certainly there are lots of places we would have never visited with going on tour there.

What has made me think of this?  Today, my sister, brother-in-law and nieces are in town.  The occasion is one of those life-changing days for the eldest niece.  Tomorrow, we move her into her dorm at Beloit College.  She will no longer be under her parents’ roof everyday.  College will bring independence and growth.  Her learning will include academic, social and life-skills.  I’m super excited for her as I believe that she chose a school that is right for her.  Yes, I’m also thrilled that she will be close to me and her grandparents.  I believe that she is demonstrating a lot of bravery to go to school super far away as her parents live in North Carolina.  Will going to college change her life?  Of course.  It should.

When I think about this niece, I recognize another one of those life-altering days in my own existence.  My niece was born at night and I received the phone call about her arrival way past my bedtime.  After crying in joy with my family, I made a decision not to work the next day and I planned to be sick in order to sleep.  Instead at 6 am the next day, my phone rang.  The principal of a school I often worked at called to offer me a permanent job, rather than the temporary teaching gig I had been doing.  I enthusiastically accepted.  At the time, I believed that this was a step on the path that I had planned for.  Instead, it led to a fork in the road, which included graduate school and teaching students with special education needs for 14 years.

Therefore, in thinking about my niece, I cannot help but to think about my teaching career.  This, of course, just makes me feel old and tired especially as I gear up to another school year.  It is funny.  I’m really back to the original plan in that I now teach United States History and Women’s Studies.  This year, in fact, I will be teaching an honors US History.  Will this year be another major life turn or will not represent anything that significant?  I don’t know.

It is sort of funny, though.  It seems to me that what my niece is feeling today is a little how I feel about my school year and even about the band.  Does my niece have an idea of what college is going to be like?  Of course.  She even visited this school before, including staying in a dorm already and attending some classes.  She also knows a lot about what the college experience was like for her parents and her aunts and uncle.  But there is a lot that is unknown.  Likewise, I have faced a lot of school years.  I know what it should be like but…there are always changes which make me nervous.  For example, I have new staff I’ll be working with and I’m not sure how this new class is going to go.

Similarly, I feel the same way with Duran.  The end of the Paper Gods era is quickly approaching.  I have been through this before and have a general idea of how it is going to go.  Typically, I would expect about three years before seeing an album.  Yet, like my school year, there is a huge unknown in that 40th anniversary.  What will happen as a result of that?  I don’t know.  Maybe they don’t know.  Will there be “new” music in some form either from brand new tunes, tweaked old demos, rarities, or some combination.  Could people hope for tour dates?  I don’t know.  I will point out one thing when it comes to tour dates.  My spring break aligns with Rhonda’s, shockingly enough.  Right now, she is planning on coming up to my neck of the woods to visit then.  Therefore, if the band wanted to do something exciting in the Midwest during the last week of March, we would not complain.  Hint.

In thinking about the future, I think it is important for my niece and for myself to remember to take things as they come.  One day at a time.  Maybe, one of those days will again be a life-altering one.  Time will tell.

-A

August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon!

I took some time this morning to listen to the August 2017 Katy Kafe with Simon.  It was a very different sort of Kafe from any other I’ve listened to over the years in some respects, and I would encourage any other Duranie to take a listen. If you really want to know who Simon is – not the guy who just performs on stage and looks great in the photos – but SIMON himself, now his your chance. As always, these are the highlights, but if you want to hear the Kafe for yourself, you should get a DDM membership.

Simon’s Mom

There is just no way to get past the deep sense of loss in this Kafe. The Simon we hear is not the bright, happy, caffeinated or energized Simon that normally shows up. He is dealing with one hell of a loss, and as he correctly says, “I will never get over it, I just have to get used to it.”  That is absolutely, 100% correct. There are still days,  nine years after we said our goodbyes, when I desperately need to talk to my dad, and I can’t. The pain is still ridiculously present, and sometimes – particularly in those moments (like yesterday afternoon) when I really needed him – the pain rises right back to the surface. It is very hard, and he is right, there’s no way to prepare for it. I don’t know if Simon’s mom was ill like my dad was, but even though I knew what the inevitable end would bring, the finality is just unbearable.  It’s permanent.  This is not a club that anyone wants to join, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, either. It’s inevitable, but nobody wants to be here.

It’s very hard (and yet easy at the same time) to pretend I’m reaching out to Simon somehow on this blog – I mean, the audacity of me to assume he reads, right? I would just want him to know that I get it. Many fans do. And I still think he was incredibly brave to stand up on stage and sing Ordinary World. I could not have done it. I have a hard enough time baring my soul through my typed words, much less showing them live, in person. I couldn’t even look at him while he sang – too painful.

I also felt that while Katy was sympathetic, she was uncomfortable and wanted to move on to easier subjects. I’m sure she wanted to protect Simon’s feelings, and let’s face it – Duran Duran is supposed to be a party band and it’s hard to portray that when the lead singer sounds depressed.  The balance between real life and stage, I guess.

360 Videos

Did anyone see the videos the band posted for Duran Duran Appreciation Day?

Paper Gods 360

Hungry Like the Wolf 360

They are worth watching, but unless you have a VR headset, your best bet for watching is your phone. Pull up the videos, put them on full screen and watch with your phone horizontally.  Can I just say that it’s kind of cool to be able to see yourself in the audience? It’s like having an out-of-body experience!

I actually have access to a VR headset (special shout out to Gavin for letting mom borrow his!), and watched the videos. Gavin’s headset is  an early version, so it’s a bit wonky, but I got the general idea.  Normally I would have almost zero interest in that sort of thing, but it’s Duran Duran, and how often am I really going to be able to be IN one of their videos?  Definitely worth watching!

Simon, on the other hand, is not really into VR. He prefers not to worry about cameras when they are filming, because he sees his job, every single night, as playing for the people who paid to see them. He feels strongly that when the band films, the cameras have to fit in with that environment, and not the other way around. The rapport has to be with the audience, and not the camera.

Work with Nick Wood

Early this summer, Simon went with Nick Wood to Cannes for a conference/film festival for commercial music.  They gave a talk, and  filmed a video for Closer to my Bed. Syn also won an Emmy for a spot they did on CNN.  Not bad work for a Duran Duran “break”!!

Coming to the end of Paper Gods

There are seven more dates, including Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Singapore and Japan, and then the Paper Gods album cycle and touring will be complete. Simon sounds bittersweet as he describes this album as being the most exciting in years, and certainly “the best since Rio”.  He talks about the huge success they had with it in the US, but that he is sad they are not taking the tour to Australia. (according to Simon the dates just never worked out)

Katy asks Simon how he closes out a project, whether or not he reflects or looks to what is coming next.  Simon responds by saying that something isn’t “done” until it is done, and then whatever is coming down the road isn’t here until it gets here. He says it is important for him to have clear lines, and I think staying completely present in the moment he is in must be what guides him, as well.

So what IS going to be next for the band?  Well, they have some time blocked out to be in the studio “quite soon” after touring. Of course in one breath Simon says that, in the next Katy says that she is “sworn to secrecy” about that studio time – and Simon tries to back up saying “they MIGHT” go in the studio. Sounds to me as though they’re going in the studio for sure, but that no one really knows what, if anything, might happen when they’re in there.

Katy asked about working with collaborators, like Mark Ronson, Ben Hudson and even Nile again. Simon sounded like he was enthusiastic to work with Ben and Mark for sure, but as we all know – it’s the beginning of who-knows-what. Chances are, everything will change and turn completely on its head before it is all said and done, so I caution: nothing is in stone until you’re holding whatever will come next in your hands. Consider all possibilities, but hold the band to none.  🙂

Let’s face it, Duranies, we’re at the very end of what we know. Going forward from here, it’s like winter. We don’t know how long it might be, but we should probably get used to the quiet.  At first, we’ll all enjoy the novelty of peace.  Maybe staying in won’t be so bad.  But then January hits, and the cold really sets in. We start to get tired of looking outside and seeing the snow drifts only growing higher.  From previous experience we know that when spring arrives, it will probably be glorious and colorful, but it’s now March and there’s no sign of green grass yet. How long is this winter really going to take??

Yeah, I hate this part too. It makes writing tough. I get impatient, but this time, I’ve sworn not to push. I’m going to just enjoy the ride and let the rest work itself out.

-R

 

Paper Gods – Which Is Your Favorite?

As I continue to kind of sort out my final thoughts on all things Paper Gods, I’ve been thinking about the album itself.  This album took a while to grow on me.  Amanda and I spoke about it on the way home from San Francisco, and she surmised that this was a ‘thinking person’s’ album.

I think she’s right about that. In my case, it wasn’t an album that reached out and grabbed me, but instead it kind of sat bubbling in my head, percolating away. For what seemed like months, I’d listen to the album on repeat in the car, and then I’d put it away for a bit. Then I’d pull it back out, and listen to it again on repeat. I would think about the lyrics, the meaning, the possible story, and the music itself.

There were a few things about the album that just didn’t sit well with me. I struggled with the idea that Dom was barely on it, for instance. Yeah, I’m loyal. I know he’s not an “official band member”.  Whatever. He’s been with them for so long, it sure feels like he’s official. It bugged me. I wasn’t totally in love with the feel of the album at first, either. It felt very electronic in parts, and oddly un-Duran Duran like in others. I kept listening. I did not want a repeat of Red Carpet Massacre – an album that I never really enjoyed – so I kept at it, trying to bond.

Somewhere along the line, I must have done just that. The songs no longer sound foreign to me. They no longer feel too electronic, or not DD “enough”.  I don’t even think about who played or wrote what song. They feel just right. Even so, I have favorite songs on every single Duran Duran album. I think we all must have tunes we enjoy more than others, and this one is no different. I also think that looking back on this tour has kind of given new meaning to at least a few of the songs I once struggled with.

When I think of Paper Gods though, a few songs come to mind: Pressure Off, Last Night in the City, and What are the Chances. I am certain this is because the band played all of them on tour, and so they come to mind easily. I also think about The Universe Alone, Planet Roaring, and Cinderella Ride. It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite from that list, but in the end it is purely sentiment that drives me.

While I know he didn’t write it, there’s no arguing that Dom owns the guitar solo in What are the Chances when he plays it live. He took something that wasn’t really his and made it so, and the album version is every bit as beautiful, of course. I feel just a teensy bit guilty that I had to remind myself on the way home from San Francisco that John Frusciante actually wrote the guitar part – I’d gotten so used to Dom doing it that I’d forgotten.  I’m not normally a ballad person, but on this album it’s the two ballads (What are the Chances and Cinderella Ride) that I love hearing most when I’m at home.  The words for both ring very close to home for me in completely different ways – which is something I can say for 99% of the album. The lyrics really hit me.

There is a lot to like on this album, and since it’s release, I’ve fallen in love with much of it. It may not have been an album that knocked me over upon first listen, but it is definitely one that made me think, reconsider, and ultimately embrace. It’s been a great ride.

-R

Favorite Show From Paper Gods Tour

I was thinking about the Paper Gods tour last night just before falling asleep. I had a great time at the shows I attended, without a doubt.  But, if I had to pick just one as my favorite show—which would it be?

First of all, this is a personal question, in that my choice for favorite show is probably not going to be very indicative of the best gig or the best sound or even what was best for you. And my favorite show might have more to do with how I was thinking or feeling that night than how the band did. I’m human enough to admit all of those factors play a part.

My intention last night was to lie there quietly and go through every single show in my head. I got through Hollywood Bowl. (to recap: that was show number one for me. So….) I know what my knee jerk answer probably is, but I want to be sure.

Amanda devised this fancy concert rubric grading system (she’s a teacher, so this makes sense!), but that’s not really working for me here. First of all, I’m a little more emotional than that rubric allows. Secondly, there are some shows that just don’t stick out.

There are a few shows though, that really make me smile when I think back on them. Two of them are at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, which is funny.  The first Agua Caliente show had me in front row. There is a certain magic in being up there – as much as I’d like to deny its influence, I just can’t. My elbows were on the stage, and it was the first time I’ve ever been that close – normally there’s a barricade or a security guy.  In fact, there was a monitor right in front of me, and my hearing has never been the same since.  <grin>

The second show also had me in front, but there’s more to it than that. I was up there with Amanda and one of our roommates, which made the night so much more fun.  We had been at an impromptu meet-up beforehand, and then the show, and then hung out at a bar afterward.  The entire night was so much fun, and then we found out the band was coming back for these July shows. (and were admonished not to tell a soul – which we didn’t until DDHQ spilled the beans the next morning!) It wasn’t just the show, it was the full experience that made it so memorable.

This last set of shows – Oakland and San Francisco – were fantastic, too. In Oakland, we were second row center, GA, but Amanda and I were with friends. The show itself blew me away for a multitude of reasons, and we hung out with Duranies in a hotel lobby bar afterward. I loved every minute.

But for me, if I had to pick a gig that was my favorite show of the entire tour, I’d have to go with San Francisco. Oddly, had that evening happened even a year prior, I would have come away feeling dejected and angry, and yet I’m telling you that for me – it was the best show of the entire tour.

First of all, I was nowhere near the front. The view I had for 99% of the show was obstructed at best. Making eye contact with band members was really tough to do, if not non-existent for most of the show. Amanda and I stood by ourselves, with no other friends around us. Most Duranies were up front, having paid for VIP. (we just couldn’t. Sixteen shows, people. My bank account said NO) Instead, we’d done this crazy California room add-on VIP deal, that wasn’t really VIP at all. It was really kind of a worthless, shitty deal that normally would have put me in such a bad mood I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself, but that night, I refused to give in. I was not going to let the last show (for me) on this tour go by with me being grumpy and mad.

Instead, I stood there, and let the music wash over me. I loved that set with every fiber of my being – yes, even Hungry Like the Wolf.  I saw Nick grin, I noticed Simon pointing into the crowd, and yeah, I even saw Dom and John rocking out together on stage. None of them probably saw me, but it didn’t matter. I danced, I sang, I held my hands in the air and gave it my all, and the band gave the energy right back. I cried through New Moon on Monday without a single thought to what the band might think. I didn’t care. There was no holding back out of fear of how I might look, or trying to get someone’s attention. I just lived in the moment, through the music, and it was fantastic. I can’t think of a better way to have ended my travels (for now).

Here’s the “thing”…this album, the tour, and even writing a rejected manuscript, changed me. I don’t think I necessarily liked the person I was becoming when Paper Gods came out. I felt like my fandom was kind of, well, fading, maybe? Perhaps it’s that I didn’t feel like I could really BE a fan because I was so busy writing, working, and trying to be “Daily Duranie Super Fan Organizer”. I’m not sure, and this experience I’m sharing is not necessarily what Amanda experienced. I’m just writing about me, here. I only know that when Paper Gods came out, as much as I loved the band, I think I was more worried about what other fans thought of me and what I was writing. I let the need for acceptance outweigh everything else. It’s easy to get caught up in one’s head when you’re trying to write a blog that people will take time out of their busy days to visit and read. Then there’s just the book writing in general. (which has so far proven unsuccessful in as much as getting a publishing deal but the personal experience? Priceless.) It was a lot of pressure I put on myself, and ultimately, I think it may have broken me.

There was a time when I stopped wanting to talk to anyone. I felt like no matter what I said or did, people reading the blog would find fault (and they did). Oddly though, after a while, the negativity seemed to even out. That said, we had support from people who didn’t necessarily SAY a word, but showed us they care by liking things we posted. Sometimes subtle works, even if it’s not noticed at the time. It turns out that while I felt very much alone for a while there, I had people by my side (or our side) all along. You know who you are, and I need to thank you. Sometimes it really is the smallest of things that are the most meaningful, and knowing someone (or a few people) had our back and accepted us for who we are and what we have to say made the difference.

So this album—Paper Gods—was not the easiest era of my life, both in fandom and for personal reasons. It was as though all of this writing and STUFF had to break me down completely before I could really begin to rebuild and figure it all out. And as that was happening, I was beginning to be happier and willing to be straight up honest with myself about why I am the way I am. When I went to those shows in March, I was absolutely thrilled to be there, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. When I drove to San Francisco last week, I was excited to hear every last song on that set list. No complaints. Life is too short and I’m way too much of a fan of this band and love the people in it too much to worry. I’m still a work in progress, as we all are, but when I look back over this time, I’m going to know how much personal growth was happening. I suppose in some small way, it took me as much time to come to terms with all of that as it did for the band to come to terms with what Paper Gods was going to be.

When I think back on the San Francisco show, not only will I remember just how on fire the band was, or how fabulous the sound was that night. I’ll remember that even though things didn’t go quite as planned, I loved every single second.

-R

Think Yourself Lucky: Some thoughts on this tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

You Can’t Laugh All the Time (or can you?)

This is it, the final Paper Gods video blog!  In fact, today you’re lucky because there will be multiple videos for your viewing pleasure.  Watch the videos in the order listed here. Hope you brought your tissues!

 

OK, just kidding about the discussion of Simon’s dancing!  Instead, we’re gonna talk about the top ten funniest (and quite frankly, stupid!) things we’ve done while the band has toured Paper Gods!

 

Pants – Exhibit A

Pants – Exhibit B

It’s been a wild ride. We have laughed until tears slid down our cheeks, sadness from time to time, and enough joy to fuel three years of blogging through the Paper Gods album cycle. Hard to believe this one is in the history books for us with no idea of what is to come—but we’re looking forward to finding out!

We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this crazy trip: Our roomies along the way:Heather, Shelly, Suzie, Lori and Julie, everyone who came to meet ups, people who stopped us to say hello,  people who bought us drinks, and even those people who couldn’t quite figure us out and didn’t always appreciate our point of view.  Each of you made us work harder, strive to be better writers, and kinder people. (still working on some of that, we suppose!)

…and then there’s the band. Naturally, we can’t go without thanking all of you. It is true that your work inspires us in turn. (as do your fashion choices!) We will miss knowing that we have shows in our immediate future, but wish all of you the best. We hope that each of you know that while we will continue to tease you relentlessly, we do it with love, respect, and admiration.  Whether you’re spitting for distance (seriously Simon, did you really think you were gonna hit us in San Francisco??), watching our antics from the stage, or just playing the music that is the soundtrack to our lives, we adore all of you.

Let’s plan on doing this all again….soon!

-A&R