Tag Archives: Paper Gods

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

 

Paper Gods Tour: The Final Leg

I know the final leg of Paper Gods #Duranlive is coming because I see the tweets from DDHQ.  The posts with a stage shot, sparking my anticipation a bit. I look at the calendar and recognize that next week at this time (I’m starting to lose track of what day of the week it is – which is WONDERFUL), I’ll be nervously packing up the last of the things I need and getting ready to drive up to Los Angeles to pick up my copilot for this final leg!

What a road it has been, and not all of it smooth or easy to navigate. In a lot of ways, I can’t believe this is really the last leg of Paper Gods.   It seems like just a few months ago that Amanda and I received the full album and gave it a good listen. Even less since I picked Amanda up from LAX and drove to our hotel near the Hollywood Bowl (apparently it’s been long enough for me to forget the name…), or since she and I hung out at the W in Los Angeles, or drove over the Canadian border. I don’t know where the time went, but I have to say, I think I really did love every minute of it!

Paper Gods, for me, wasn’t an easy sell. I didn’t fall in love at the first listen. Falling somewhere in between Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need is Now on a musical level (for me – your experience will be different and that’s wonderful!), I didn’t have that immediate bonding that I craved. It took time and patience, which was something I wasn’t expecting. I wrote many a review, and spent a lot of time trying to pinpoint what I loved, and what fell short.  Even so, it would be unfair not to recognize the musical genius within. The hard work is evident, and it is very clear that the band went full-throttle with heart, soul and everything in between to finish.

On the upside, the touring here in the states has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Hollywood Bowl, Ravinia, Red Rocks, shows on New Years Eve and New Years Day, but to name a few. Absolute craziness. Shows were announced without warning, and it’s a good thing I take blood pressure medicine religiously, because one never knew what would be announced next.

On the other hand, there’s the rest of the world. A handful of shows in Italy, a few in the UK, Lollapalooza in South America, Gran Prix in Singapore…and a scattering of others. The rest of world pretty much missed out. Yes, there are a million verifiable reasons why the tour shook out this way, none of which provide much in the way of solace for fans who have been waiting. I might also gently suggest that the band saying “We really want to go to the Far East!” or “Hoping to hit Australia and even New Zealand!” probably didn’t help, although, if one really listened and read through the lines, particularly just before the album was announced and the band was saying they probably would not get to a lot of places on this tour and that it would be shorter, maybe there wouldn’t be as much of a surprise. Even so, as a fan, I have to wonder what is really going on. No conspiracies, but to leave out the rest of the world seems odd. Promoters work to get the band booked places, and I have a difficult time believing there is no demand for them in say, Japan. Or Australia. Or anywhere in Europe besides Italy.

Here we are, standing ever closer to the edge—together. We’re near the end of one album cycle, one final leg of the tour left, not entirely sure of what will follow. There’s talk of the studio, of a three-year celebration of the 40th anniversary (I still have a hard time typing that number. It feels like a mistake and I have to remind myself that yes, it really has been that long.), of a musical, and still many other fans believe that band is going to retire and they’re on their way out. None of us really know what will come next, until the band tells us. So while I’m anxious to go see the shows next week, I’m also slightly apprehensive of the unknown. After all, I’ve had a lot of fun and I don’t want it to stop!

Nagging thoughts aside, I get the feeling we’ve only just gotten started.

-R

On the other side of what we’ll never know

Today is my last post for the week. I’ll be back on Monday as usual, but in the meantime, I have a very important event to attend on Saturday. My son Gavin will be graduating from high school. Those are words I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever get to write.

It marks an ending, and a beginning. I remember when Heather, my oldest, graduated. It really was “A Big Thing.” I had no idea what to expect. Would we remain close?  How would she do in college? Was dance really the right path for her?  As I recently said to a friend whose first-born is graduating this year, it is hard to be sad, excited and scared all at once. I broke down many times, always in the shower, and tried very hard not to show my feelings. I figured she was having a hard enough time adjusting without the added pressure of mom’s emotions added to the mix.

Oddly, Heather’s graduation, and now Gavin’s graduation, mark the beginning and end of the Paper Gods album cycle. As the soundtrack of my life continues to be written, I think it’s kind of poetic that I will always equate Paper Gods with the graduations of my two oldest children. Even the album itself—lyrics and all—work well with this part of my life. I don’t know how Duran Duran does it, but they did it again. I’ll never think about this time of my life, with its endings and beginnings, without thinking about Paper Gods.

Gavin’s graduation, on the other hand, is weird for me. I thought I would be far more emotional than I am. I’m excited for Gavin to start college. He needs the challenge, and I have no doubt that Astrophysics will provide! I will miss him at home, but I am also ready to stop being his teacher. Honestly, I think he was ready for me to stop being his teacher about two years ago, but we survived! That said, when I think about just how far this kid has come since seventh grade when he looked me in the eye and told me, with all the seriousness that a twelve-year-old can muster, that he didn’t see the point of school because he was going to be a YouTube star, and by the way I’m failing out of school anyway….well, it’s been a long road with many crying sessions in the shower. I’m incredibly proud, and not just of Gavin. I’m proud of myself. Heather was my first baby and I learned how to be a mom with her. Gavin was my second, he was a challenge from day one, and he taught me how to advocate for my child. I’m so grateful.

Homeschooling has been one adventure after another, and I will never regret a single day. Gavin went from working very hard to fail out of school, to wanting to become a research physicist. Despite being told by more than one of my in-laws that I wasn’t smart enough to teach him—I did it anyway. My kid is not only going to college, but a UC school. I am ridiculously proud of Gavin. He learned to use his Autism as a tool and turn it into a positive. Sometimes, defiance is a wonderful source of energy. I embrace it.

Duran Duran is similar in many respects. To begin with, this day marks a couple of notable anniversaries in their world. It’s the date that the first album was released in 1981. (thirty-six years ago, but who’s counting??) Critics called them a flash in the pan, a one-hit wonder, and just about anything else they could think of.  Duran Duran didn’t shrink into the night because the critics couldn’t pull their heads out – they defiantly continued. Do they still have something to prove? Not in my mind, but I get the motivation. I live it every single day. If that weren’t enough, just two years ago, Pressure-Off, the lead single off of Paper Gods, was also released on this date. The full album came out a few months later, and what did that album do?  It soared to the top ten. So much for being a flash in the pan, right?

I don’t really know what will come next for my family. I’ve always halfway joked and expected that when the right opportunity came up, that Gavin would move far away and we’d get the occasional postcard. This is not a child who is going to stick close to home out of affection or loyalty – it’s not who he is.  It is very hard to stand back and let your child fly from the nest without knowing what will happen, particularly when you’ve spent the majority of his life front-loading him for even the smallest changes in schedule. I am not living his life for him though, he’s got to live his own. I have to let him go, and I will. I would imagine Duran Duran feels the same way when they release an album. You put all of this time and energy into something, and when it’s done and needs released, it’s no longer yours. They tour with it, show it around, and then it’s done.

I feel the same with my kids. Things don’t stay the same after they graduate. Yes, we all get together sometimes – but not nearly as often as we did when they were little. Nowadays Heather is in her own apartment, and is home here occasionally for dinner. (Free food brings them home every time!) I treasure the nights when everyone is home and we play board games or cards and laugh a lot. I can’t really look back with sadness at the loss of their childhood, though, so I don’t. I adjust to what is new, and embrace what comes next.

In the meantime though, I might just spend a little more time listening to Paper Gods, and sneaking in an extra shower or two before Saturday.

-R

Were you at Sunfest in Palm Beach – 2016?

It is getting to the point where I am beginning to recall dates off of the Paper Gods tour on our “day in Duran history” calendar.  That seems hard to believe. Just last year on this very day, Duran Duran played in Palm Beach at Sunfest. It was a date on the Paper Gods tour, and the album still had that new car feeling. We’d had the music for a while, but it still felt new.

If I had to pinpoint any one thing different about the shows I saw recently in Rancho Mirage and the shows I’ve seen previously for Paper Gods, I would say that now, the album feels less new. That’s not a criticism, either. For me, it just feels like songs such as “Pressure Off” have kind of found their place in the set and the album has a rightful place in their catalog. Rather than feeling like the NEW song, it’s more like hearing one of my favorites, or another crowd pleaser.

That song in particular, feels right. Duran Duran seems to appreciate their set creating the backdrop to a party, and songs like “Pressure Off” and “Rio” fit so well together to make that scene happen. I love the festivity, and while they’ve been doing the confetti-bit with “Pressure off” for a while now, during this last run of shows I think it just feels like a natural part of their set. I hate to say that I hope they never take it out of the set because, as we all know, there are FAR too many other songs we never hear because they’ve got too many of these “can’t leave it out” tunes in their catalog. So, I’ll just say I’ve enjoyed the festivities!

As this year moves on, it’s hard to believe that it won’t be too much longer before the Paper Gods album cycle draws to a close. This is the second album that this blog has been around to experience from start to finish, and it’s been quite a ride. I look forward to seeing what comes next – whether it’s an album or more touring or just celebrating 40 years of success!

Were you at Sunfest? Can you believe it’s already been an entire year since the show?

-R

 

April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor!

This past weekend, the gift of a gleaming new April 2017 Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor was posted on DuranDuranMusic for members. I gave it a listen yesterday afternoon, knowing I’d be blogging the highlights this morning. Roger and Katy covered a variety of subjects, and as always—I took notes and will cover the more notable topics here. If you want the full Kafe, I’d suggest getting your DDM membership!

Lollapalooza

Roger said that going in, he was concerned that the crowd would be different, and that they might struggle with the audience. Apparently the average attendee for Lollapalooza was 23. But then he saw a lineup and felt they’d fit in nicely. Katy asked him if he likes festivals, and he said yes. He likes playing outside in the elements, and says that if you have the right audience, there’s nothing like it.

I think back to the now infamous photos of the Argentina show and sure, I suppose he’s right. I’m not a big fan of “the elements”, but I can understand where the band is coming from. Someday I’d like to ask the band if it makes any difference at all whether they’re playing a smaller gig in front of 3000 real fans, or many more thousand that might not know their music as well. Judging from the way the band responds online – I’d have to think that while of course they love the fans, when you’re talking about an audience filled with thousands of people, as long as those people are responding – it doesn’t matter.  To them, they’re all fans.

Katy also asked Roger if Lollapalooza was similar to Coachella. I thought this was an interesting question, particularly because it was something I’d wondered myself! To me it seemed the audiences were very different. I watched Coachella again recently – and the way the audience even responded was incredibly different. I felt the Coachella audience stood there waiting to be entertained, where in Argentina, it was far more a group experience. They were all in the show together.  That said, Roger said they were very similar. I’m not really surprised he responded that way, either. Roger is on the drums, in the back, and I don’t know how much of that “crowd feeling” he is able to fully absorb or even notice! Whereas my line of thinking was more about the emotion of the audience, Roger stuck to aesthetics. “They were at similar times of the day” and the crowd size was similar. (in the same ballpark anyway!)

July

Most people know that the band is going out again in July for two more festivals. One is the Calgary Stampede, and the other is Electric Picnic. Katy asked him about those, and Roger let us all in on a little secret—he tries not to look at the tour dates until about three days before he leaves.

If I had an emoji sign with wide eyes that I felt I could post without getting into copyright trouble – I’d post it here. Use your imagination.  This sends my slight OCD tendencies into OVERDRIVE. Oh my. I already have my hotel reservations for a trip I’m taking in July. I know how I’m going to get there and what time I’m going to leave…and it’s not even May!  But then, I don’t have “a good group of people” doing that for me. It’s me. I book the trips. I drive the car, too!  The difference of course is that I don’t tour often, I haven’t been doing this since I was twenty, and I don’t have other people doing the itinerary. There’s something really attractive of not having to be the one to worry about where I’m going though, and only having to show up to play. I wonder what that’s like….

Katy also tells him that he’s going to be missing his son’s birthday this year, and it is in that moment that I remind myself that yes, these guys really are still human. Roger sounded sad about missing Julian’s birthday – I think that’s a genuine drawback to being a musician. He says it’s part of the deal, you miss birthdays, school concerts, etc; and then Katy reminds him that he also gets to come home and be with his kids for months at a time and pick them up at school. (which he was getting ready to go do!)  That is true, and is a benefit that these musicians have that most normal people do not. While the band is gone for extended periods to work, when they come home, they’re not working. (Studio time aside, because that’s totally different) Other people go on business trips, come home, and go back to the office.

What about Australia???

This is the question of the moment. Katy asks if the band is still going there or if they’ve shelved the idea. Now, I have no doubt people heard all the hope in the world in his voice, but I have to say that I did not. Roger said that they are waiting for just the right dates and venues, and IF that happens, then yes they’d like to go there. He said that Australia is one of their favorite places to visit, so it’s not about not wanting to go. It sounds to me as though it is purely about the business-side. It’s not worth going if they don’t have the right set of dates and venue.

In my opinion, it didn’t sound all that hopeful. I know there are a ton of rumors out there about playing with Chic, but judging purely from what Roger said, it doesn’t sound as though any of that is solid as of yet. As for the rest of the world? Nothing was mentioned at all. Whether that was  due to time or because Katy chose to focus on the positive, I don’t know. 

What is next?

Katy asked Roger what their plans are for the rest of the year (after July). At one point, Roger felt that they might end 2017 in the studio, and she was wondering if that was still possible. Interestingly enough, Roger says they are going to be doing more dates (no place was mentioned).  He also said something about going somewhere special and filming it. He talked about how he thought they’d been touring Paper Gods for nearly three years now (While I can appreciate the thought that time flies – they’ve been touring Paper Gods since September of 2015, which means it will be two years. Yes, I checked the complete tour list!) and he said they’ve done a lot and would like to finish it out with it filmed. Then he said maybe after that they’d go into the studio, but nothing was really planned.

One thing I’ll note here is that Roger is really happy with just going with the flow. He seems perfectly content to go along with whatever is going to happen! 

Rio turns 35 (Impossible!!!)

Katy mentioned to Roger that yes, in May of this year, Rio will be 35. After I picked myself up off the floor, I heard her ask him to recall ONE memory from that album.  ‘John came into the studio one day and said, “We need to write a song we can open the set with.”….and that song became Rio.’  and then he laughed and said, “now it’s the closer.”  Katy asked Roger if he felt much pressure with Rio.  I was surprised that he said no. His feeling was that the first album had more pressure because they were still really learning how to play and how to be a band. For Rio, they had a backlog of material to choose from, and they were far more confident with their instruments. Roger even said it was an easy process, comparatively speaking to many of their albums which have not always been easy (I believe he would include Paper Gods in that description).

Oh! One thing that Katy asked – which is something I, too, have always wondered – was about that sound at the very beginning of Last Chance on the Stairway.  She wondered if it was the sound of a cigarette being lit. I was really surprised though that Roger didn’t know!  He said that he hadn’t listened to it back in years, but that it was probably a sound effect that Nick added at the very last-minute. Still no firm answer, but maybe Katy will ask Nick when she gets a chance.  This conversation led to a discussion of smoking. Of course, when the band started out, everyone was smoking. Roger had a mantra to “never smoke before midnight.”

I don’t even get that…but OK. I guess if I lived at a club (Rum Runner) I’d probably have had some weird mantras too. Hell, as it is I say “Not without a hazmat suit!”  (Don’t ask.)

Apparently Roger is a coffee drinker in the morning (me too, Roger me too…) and Katy is not, although she did have a brief coffee “thing”  at one point.

So I should never invite Katy for coffee.  And if I ever get close enough to invite Roger to chat – coffee might work in the morning.  (Sure, I’m dreaming. Who cares?!?) 

And about that birthday….

Roger has nothing really planned. Going to see his kids, his parents who live about two hours from him… but nothing super special. He comments that every decade seems to go faster.

I must wholeheartedly agree on that one. I’m actually worried about how quickly the 50’s are gonna go because my 40s have mostly flown by. Can’t we slow this down a bit?!? I still have a few years to go till I’m staring 50 head-on, but at this rate I’ll blink and it will be here. No thank you. 

Katy ended the Kafe with a bit of a spoiler, saying that they may be doing something special for Rio’s 35th “Birthday” in May…which is pretty exciting. Looking forward to that!!

Until next time!

-R

It’s about the money, honey! Those darn ticket prices

Lately, the blog has been void of truly controversial topics.  I have stuck to basics, like commemorating days in history and that sort of thing. The writing has been easy, and I’ve enjoyed not having my inbox/comments flooded with inflammatory and argumentative replies. I don’t miss that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, nor do I miss being called out by people on Twitter who really know nothing about me.

However, sometimes, no matter how incendiary a topic might be, it is worthy of some discussion. Amanda and I never used to shy away from the tough topics, and I don’t want to start that now just because of my own comfort zone.  Over the past few days, I noticed a friend comment about the ticket prices for Duran shows. I replied, commiserating over the cost.

On this same thread, another Duranie commented that he didn’t feel the band cared how we felt about their prices. First of all, let’s be clear: I am not all that sure that the band even knows what they charge for concert tickets. As Simon has said many times, they don’t really get involved on the business side – after all, that is why they hire management, right? Second, I would agree that they probably don’t care. I think the band comes out on stage, sees that most of the seats are full – if in fact they can even see that well past the first several rows – and they go about their business of playing their set. They aren’t fixated on how much their shows cost, only what they need to do at the time. Third, Simon himself (and I’m sorry to “pick” on Simon, it just so happens he’s the one who I remember making any mention of this subject) has said that when a fan buys a ticket to their show, they are getting a terrific value for their money.  So I think we all know where he stands, and I can’t blame him.

As the thread continued, another Duranie friend chimed in.  She’s seen them quite a bit over the years, and flat-out refuses to spend so much money to see a band that she’s seen so often. She continued by saying that their latest releases have underwhelmed her, and that also plays a part in her decision not to attend shows. I can’t argue with any of that, either. I mean, why pay to see a band that is putting out music you’re not into? Fair enough.

The one question that always seems to come up during these conversations is whether or not the band is really just into it for the money.  Now, before you hit the comment button here – I KNOW WHAT THE BAND HAS SAID. John Taylor has said in more than one Katy Kafe that it is not just about the money for them. I KNOW.  I would simply ask what do any of us think they’d really say in public?? I highly doubt ANY band would openly say they are still working and performing purely for the money. Even if we don’t think they’re ONLY in it for the cash (which for the record I do not), let’s be fair: making money is part of the deal. It’s called business.

Curiously, the answer to that one little question matters to fans. We white knuckle the belief that the band we love really is not about taking us for everything we’ve got and are willing to part with, to see them.  Yet I think most of us know in our heads that money has to enter into it all somewhere.  The question is, where is that line between having a successful career and selling out purely for cash drawn, and why?

Discussion points are continually made that the band isn’t continuing to sell out massively large venues, and that they’re playing Festivals and casinos. No argument there, although I have pointed out in some conversations that this past summer – they definitely came close to selling out at least some of the venues they performed in that while touring with Chic.  I’ll admit, in my own personal opinion, the ticket prices were pretty high (considerably so if you bought VIP, which I did).  While no, they aren’t playing the same size venues this spring [in the US], the ticket prices have not come down that much. I do see other bands besides Duran Duran on occasion, and while I pay the most to see DD (VIP cost having a lot to do with that so to some degree it is my own fault and I own that), I have found that other tickets are still expensive. It’s just not cheap to go to concerts anymore unless you’re willing to sit in the back or on the lawn.

This is not just about priority for fans. The implication that if you really want to see Duran Duran you’ll pay the price and if you’re just a fair-weather fan, you probably won’t and that’s your problem, is distasteful.That belief gives far too much leeway in passing judgment on others. After all, five years ago, I could afford to do whatever show(s) I wanted, and didn’t have to work outside of the home. Now, I can’t, and I work. Things change, and it isn’t just about priorities. There are real fans of the band who have just gotten to the point where they feel as though the ticket prices are too high to see the same basic set list, or to see songs from albums that just have not hit home.

In closing, I’ll throw out one more sub topic to mull over.  In recent weeks, Amanda and I have had conversations about where the band sits in the overall hierarchy of popularity.  The band (DDHQ) markets their success with Paper Gods.  I made the comment to Amanda just this past weekend that if one listened to management, it is easy to believe that things have never been better for the band.  On the other hand, the energy and buzz have certainly changed over the years we’ve written this blog. It is vastly different now, for a variety of reasons. It is difficult to really grasp the true interest level. On one hand, they can sell out the Hollywood Bowl when touring with Chic. On the other hand, they tend to go for the low hanging fruit and play festivals. They have the opportunity to play for huge crowds without the risk of booking massive venues on their own.  They also play a lot of casino shows.  More and more often, I read of long time fans decide to sit out shows and tours, saying that they’ve given enough to the band over the years.  Is it just the people I follow, or is it a growing trend, and why? Is it our age? Our circumstances? The cost? Are we really that worried about whether the band is only in it for the money these days – or is it just reason to complain?

-R