Tag Archives: Pressure Off

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Yesterday, I wrote about some things I am thankful for. I decided a visual was in order.

I’m going to apologize to my male friends out there, should you be over the whole “gawking at the band” thing. I have decided that life is entirely too short to worry about what some of you may think. I’m gonna do this the way I wanna do it…period.  If the band didn’t want us to look at them, they’d perform behind a damn wall.

So with that in mind, here are some of the more visual things I am thankful for, on this lovely Thanksgiving Day.  Enjoy!

I think this thumbnail alone speaks volumes and says everything I need say.

On the other hand….

(and I could have posted just about any video from Dom…I just like this one, and it’s his solo stuff, so enjoy!)

Back to Duran Duran…

 

Oh look, another thumbnail with Roger.  😀  No seriously, I am thankful for this video because it is with all five, and it is the five that I grew up identifying as Duran Duran.  There is no more joyous of a video than this one for me, to be honest.

I love this video. I am thankful that Nick decided to be a pain in the ass and chew gum, too. You go on with your bad self, Mr. Rhodes.

 

So much to be thankful for in this one I do not know where to begin. Well, there’s John Taylor, to begin with… and Simon. What?  I need therapy.

Ah yes, therapy.  This might work. I am thankful for this video because regardless of what the band or the director had in mind – I have my own personal meaning for all of it. And Dom is in it.  :)It’s

It’s Late Bar. It’s semi-recent(ish).  Oh, and Dom is in it.  To be honest, I don’t even know if he played well. Does that matter right now?

NO.

There’s a lot of memories here for me. I saw the studio they filmed this at (the tin foil was still on the wall), I walked through the cemetery Nick walked through (it also thundered, lightning and hailed which was amusing), and I saw some of the other sites in the video too. Plus – all we really need is now, isn’t it?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Welcome to the holiday season, 2016 (we are almost through this blasted year!)

-R

I’m Still Breathing, and So Should You

There are days when I am so thankful for this blog, this safe, happy place, that I wish I could hug it. Today is one of those days.

Yes, we had an election in my country yesterday. Some may be happy with the results. Others may be very unhappy. I am concerned. I don’t know what to write, or how to feel.  Mostly I want to move on, but I can’t seem to find the right way to go forward yet.

John voted in his first American election yesterday. He tweeted a picture from the @duranduran account. I am sure that must have been a very exciting and proud moment for him, despite the results not turning out as he may have wanted.

I know the rest of the world is sick of our politics right now. I live here and I’m sick of it too. I’ve seen many a friend and acquaintance comment in a variety of ways about the election, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing I can say to make people happy.  Once again our country has come to a crossroads, voters have spoken, and we find ourselves waiting for the other shoe to drop.  There are massive wounds left behind to heal, and I would be insane to think I could do anything to help with that process.

So, I’m watching videos today. I may not know much, but I do believe that music heals. It makes ME feel better. Our world is not perfect. My country may not have voted the way the rest of the world felt best, but watching a video or listening to my favorite band still has the power to make me feel better.

 

 

 

I’m just going to shut off my TV, shut down my computer, put down my phone, and try to enjoy some music for a while. I invite you to do the same.  Sometimes, you just have to take time out to breathe.

-R

 

 

 

No Tomorrow: Last Few US Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

 

Question of the Day: Sunday, September 4, 2016

Yesterday’s choice:  Last Night in the City

Which song would you rather have LEFT OFF the setlist:  What Are the Chances or Pressure Off?

To Lighten Up Your Mood: Motivational Duran

Yesterday students arrived at the school I teach at for the first time this year.   (I know that this blog is supposed to be about Duran fandom.  This post will get there, too.  I promise.) The beginning of the school year is always a little rough and this year is no exception.  There are always changes and adjustments that need to be made no matter how much summer planning was done by school staff.  In my case, this year, it is all about my class rosters and how many students I have.

For those not in the know, I teach 4 sections of freshmen United States History (along with the very welcomed Women’s Studies).  This means that I spend most of my day trying to get 14 and 15 year olds to engage in activities and discussions surrounding U.S. History from 1865 to 1945.  It is not the easiest task in the best of circumstances.  This year, though, my class lists are pretty messed up.  I have a small class that I’m team teaching with a colleague.  Then, I have two HUGE classes.  One of those classes I am also teaming with but not the other one, which makes no sense.  I also have 25 more students than my colleagues, which is beyond not cool since we assign a lot of essays so I’ll be grading until the cows come home.  Even weirder, still, is the fact that I have a class that has 25 boys and 5 girls.  A lot of those boys have a history of getting themselves into trouble, on top of it all.

While the scheduling seems random, I would not be surprised if I was assigned the class of what I would lovingly call “naughty boys” because I have a long history of success with kids who fit that description.  Part of me appreciates the weird sort of compliment.  The other part of me just worries about being exhausted for the next 37.5 weeks.  Therefore, it is pretty obvious that I’m going to need some energy, some motivation, something to keep me going.  As with everything else in my life, I find myself turning to music, Duran Duran music.  Can Duran give me what I need to be a successful teacher this year?

In order to see if Duran’s music can get me through, I have selected some songs that should work to motivate me.

Wild Boys

The reasons for this song seems obvious, yes?  If I’m going to have a class of “wild boys,” then the song of the same name better keep me going!  I specifically chose the one with “Relax” in the middle because I will need to remind myself of that a lot!

Paper Gods

This song will be used not so much for motivation but for validation.  A teacher’s life in the present day United States is typically filled with a lot of “paper cuts,” both literally and figuratively.  This song acknowledges that paper cuts of some form or another exist, which I often need and appreciate.

Sunrise

The thing I love about this song is how optimistic it is.  I think most teachers need to feel that optimistic, that hope in the beginning of the year and I am no exception.  Many, including myself, need to “feel the new day” as a positive.  I chose the John version of the song because…well…I like his version for obvious reasons and because I stop thinking or worrying about anything else when I’m watching it.

Hold Back the Rain

This song always reminds me of being on the road, being on tour with “no time to worry.”  While the school year gives plenty for me to worry about, I need to remember that there are times, moments when I don’t have to worry.  I will need to recall fun times of this past summer and hope for more in the future when things start to weigh me down.  This song will allow me to go to my happy place when I need it!

Pressure Off

Of course, the school year features breaks and the summer when the pressure truly comes off.  This song will me to remind of that during the long stretches without breaks.

All You Need Is Now

While breaks are always welcomed, I have to remember to appreciate the now and live in the moment.  While teaching is never an easy gig (I just read a stat that states how teachers make about 1,500 decisions in a day or more than 4 decisions in a minute!), I also want to appreciate the moments that remind me of why I got into this field to begin with and why I stay.  I have already had a few this week, such as when I saw some former students who ran up to give me hugs.

So what about the rest of you?  What Duran songs do you use to motivate yourself or to keep you going even when you are exhausted?  Which songs keep you going at work?  I would love to see everyone’s lists!

-A

Question of the Day: Monday, August 29, 2016

Yesterday’s choice:  Pressure Off

Which song would you rather have LEFT OFF the setlist:  Ordinary World or I Don’t Want Your Love?

Question of the Day: Sunday, August 28, 2016

Yesterday’s choice:  What Are the Chances

Which song would you rather have LEFT OFF the setlist:  Pressure Off or Planet Earth?

It Doesn’t Have to be Serious: Videos!

I’m having a difficult time writing today, and that’s at least partially because I’m under the gun with timing. The other issue is that today is the private memorial for my mom’s partner.

Even after his death, I’m still grappling with what to call him. He was a good friend to my mom, a sort of companion, and he kind of lived with my mom too. I say “kind of” because he and my mom live at the same senior complex, but he kept his own apartment downstairs. Yet, he spent the night at my mom’s most of the time. They weren’t married or anything, and so when it boils down to it – I don’t really know how to categorize their relationship. It’s weird.

My parents were married for 48 years before my dad died. I embraced the idea of my mom getting involved with this other man, and he became part of our family in many ways. But, he and I were never very close.  He was just that way I suppose, and now with his passing, I have to help my mom pick up the pieces and move on. Again. Not an easy task.

So, my mood is less than stellar I suppose.  That also makes it tough to write. I’m wishing I were on a plane headed for Vancouver for a weekend of Duranie fun.  Since that cannot happen, I think I’m just going to pick some videos to watch instead.

I think Pressure Off is pretty appropriate.

 

Rio always puts me in a better mood

 

Careless Memories kind of lets me work through some anger

 

Serious…because it doesn’t have to be serious

 

Crocodile Tears by Dom Brown goes here because I said so

 

And I’ll finish with Late Bar because sometimes, I just need it.

 

I won’t lie, I’ll be glad when this is over. There’s been a lot going on that I haven’t been able to talk about here, and today is going to give me some closure that I need in order to move forward.  The service will be very short because it will be just my family there with my mom, but I think it will take all of us a very long time to actually move on.

But, these videos will help me this afternoon, so I plan to sit and watch!

And for those of you headed to Vancouver this weekend, I hope you have a blast!! Safe travels to everyone!

-R

All You Need is Then: DD in Las Vegas

Just a reminder that we graciously accept reviews from DD shows, as well as blogs on any topic that has to do with Duran Duran. Today Jason Lent shares a different perspective on the recent Las Vegas show. If you’re interested in submitting a blog, please check out our “Guest Blog” page for information. 

For the next two weeks I will be on vacation with family (I’m doing nearly the polar opposite of “touring” by going camping with family in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons), so I have a few guest blogs to take my place. Enjoy!!  -R

By Jason Lent

My nostalgia drenched July wrapped up with Duran Duran at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas. Seven nights earlier, I stood in a parking lot downtown while Howard Jones and OMD performed on what felt like the surface of the sun. After Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Thompson Twins were pivotal touchstones in my formative years of music while OMD were always on the edges of my life soundtrack. All three provided different reminders of why I love the synth pop sounds of the 1980s.  I still find myself expecting more from Duran Duran overall because they were “my” band as an impressionable 11-year-old. As I walked to my car that night in a mad dash to escape a parking garage built by Satan himself, I realized that no matter what the band does now, all I ever needed from them was already given to me back then.

Touring in support of Paper Gods, I went into last night’s show having already seen the earliest incarnation of this tour in 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. Selfishly hoping for some radical updates to the set list (this was, after all, the second Vegas show in under a year), I knew that such dreams were foolish. At this point, the band has firmly entrenched itself into the legacy circuit where delivering the most appeal to the largest amount of people is job number one. With that as the goal, this current tour might be as effective as any they’ve undertaken in the last twenty years.  That night in Las Vegas, the cheers of the arena were literally deafening and I awoke the following morning with a ringing in my ears that I’d have expected if I stood in front of the PA at a Five Finger Death Punch concert (on a side note, very cool that Chris Kael from Death Punch was at the Duran show last night!).

From the viewpoint of a casual fan, there is no denying the overall power of the current show. After the artsy run through of the new album’s title track, the hits come fast and furious. Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf, and A View To A Kill lifted the crowd to their feet and had them screaming along. The band appeared to be thrilled by the reception and Simon LeBon stepped into the role of the saucy frontman, a role he was born to play. Come Undone, the finest single of their second career peak, sounded and looked brilliant, providing one of the many highlights.

For the more ardent Duranie, the disappointment with the current show resides in the lack of hope that each show provides. Maybe this always existed with Duran Duran but age and technology now infringe on the innocent hope we carried to shows as teenagers. There is no mystery to which songs might be played and the stage banter feels a little too comfortable as a result. The show is the show and the band delivers it night after night at a very high level. However, most of us know exactly when LeBon is about to ask the audience if anybody is hungry. This lack of spontaneity and a refusal to push themselves outside their comfort zone takes a little sparkle off the modern Duran Duran.

For those of us who lived and died with each album (and Liberty sometimes felt like it wanted to kill me), the current tour does offer a few moments of ecstasy such as a killer performance of I Don’t Want Your Love from Big Thing and a reworked take on Girls On Film that feels funky and fresh. Both of these choices do nothing to hamper the casual fan’s appreciation of the show while giving us more fanatical sorts the hope for more twists and turns in the future. The clock is forever ticking when a band sticks around for over three decades but Duran Duran has some gas left in the tank and the next tour could be truly special if they are willing to take a few more chances.

First and foremost in my mind would be to bring 25-30 songs on the tour and arrange each set list slightly differently from town to town. In doing so, the band would have to stay on their toes musically from night-to-night. Why does that matter? It brings out the best in musicians. What if Notorious and Pressure Off weren’t always side by side for example. The songs are too similar sitting next to each other. If Notorious dropped down into the encore, it’s not like Nile Rodgers isn’t going to come back on stage. From what I’ve seen, he’ll take any chance to get in front of the audience especially if he gets to remind us of all the #1 hits he worked on. God bless the man, but we know you’re a legend. Stop telling us each night.

If the band brought 30 songs on the road, those extra tracks could open up a whole new world to long time fans. It starts with the new material. Last Night In the City should be dropped. It’s a boring EDM track that feels like the band trying to appeal to the very people who aren’t buying concert tickets regardless. Sunset Garage, a far better track, with a video montage of the band over the years could be a show highlight. The fatal flaw with Paper Gods was the decision to put the most Duran sounding songs into the “bonus tracks” of different versions of the release. Ask a hundred Duran fans and we would choose Planet Roaring over Danceophobia almost 100% of the time.

In addition to a better mix of the new tracks, the band’s depth gets grossly overlooked in the current tour which can be fixed fairly easily. All You Need Is Now from 2010 was one of their best studio albums since Rio and not a single song makes the current tour. This is more ludicrous than the decision to cover Public Enemy’s 911 Is A Joke. The album that brought them back into arenas gets no attention while the band continues to play Reach Up For the Sunrise, a modest hit but hardly essential listening. To make matters worse, the band taunts us with a chorus from New Moon On Monday in the middle of Sunrise. Here’s an idea, just play Monday, one of the beloved singles from the band’s biggest period.

As a kid, collecting Duran Duran 12” records felt like my life mission. On the flip side of the Careless Memories 12” was a track called Fame. At that age, I didn’t know who David Bowie was and this was my first time hearing an artist whose career and life would greatly influence everything I love in music. If the band had added Fame to the set list for this tour, not only would it have paid tribute to our collective hero, it would have taken us all back to the early stages of fandom when we were full of hope and wonder. I chalk up the medley of Planet Earth and Space Oddity as a near miss but still a lot of fun last night.

So where do we go from here? Next year is the 35th anniversary of Rio and the trend of bands revisiting complete works shows no signs of dissipating. Rather than head back into the studio, I hope Duran Duran embraces their legacy fully and undertakes a summer tour to celebrate a landmark album in all our lives. Open each night with a handful of other hits, take an intermission with a short film of the band in the studio and on video sets over the years, play Rio in its entirety and finish the night with an encore of even more hits. The ticket sales would be monumental and those of us who stayed with them all along would be rewarded with rarely heard songs like Hold Back the Rain.

I look forward to new albums and new tours while continuing to want more of the past each show. Last night was an amazing experience and despite my many words above, I left with a huge smile on my face. The music critic in me will always explore every corner of my Duran Duran fandom but my passion never diminishes. The recent resurgence in interest for their work vindicates many of us who grew up being teased for loving five good-looking lads from England. Take away their youthful smiles, the expensive videos, and all the radio hits and you still have truly gifted musicians with a natural-born entertainer on the mic. Duran Duran forever.

 

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnailJason Lent discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

 

Top 10 Reasons for Tour Excitement: Part 2!

Last week, I gave a list of what I am excited about when it comes to touring.  The list included:  Our meet-ups, meeting new people, seeing old friends, having late nights at clubs and bars, following tour traditions, getting out of town, seeing new places, laughing with Rhonda and more.  If you want to read all of the details, go here.  That said, I promised a part 2 that would focus on what I’m looking forward to when it comes to the shows themselves.

Hearing new songs on the setlist (HA!)

Aww…I couldn’t resist.  I’m a hopeless optimist.  I will continue to hope until the very last song at my very last show that they will mix up the setlist some.  Adding in one new song a night, maybe?  Anything?  Please.  If you are reading this, Duran Duran, Rhonda and I will help you out.  We will tweet out some suggested set lists soon!

Confetti in Pressure Off

One aspect of this current tour and set list that I do love is the confetti during Pressure Off.

DoJo

You all knew that this was going to be on the list, right?  The DoJo (Dom and John for those not in the know!) brings together my favorite and Rhonda’s favorite.  It is so good that it actually makes a song like Hungry like the Wolf one to almost look forward to!

Laughing at John’s dancing in Danceophobia

Much like DoJo helps with HLTW, John’s dancing is what makes Danceophobia work for me live!  I am so very entertained by all of his moves!

Laughing at Simon’s dancing during the whole show

While John really only makes me laugh during Danceophobia, Simon’s dancing provides much laughter during the whole show.  Aww…you all know that I only tease because I love!

JoSi

As much as I like to tease and I do, I also really, really appreciate any and all moments of JoSi.  Perhaps, in fact, John and Simon might want to increase the JoSi during this summer leg of the Paper Gods tour.  Just sayin’.

Hoping for something extra to entertain 

Every show has a chance for a little extra moment of entertainment, of fun. For example, just recently in Italy, Simon lost the microphone.  While that is funny enough, I love that someone not only recorded the moment but enhanced the moment with this little video!

Hoping that we have perfected the ability to avoid

There are a couple of moments during the show that we don’t necessarily look forward to.  For example, I like to avoid the finger licking during Come Undone if that is even still being done.  I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing when it is coming so that I can look away.  Likewise, Rhonda and I know exactly when Simon is going to spray the crowd in the “spit zone” during the song, White Lines.  Now, we just have to hope that we know exactly how to ensure that we don’t get sprayed!

Singing, dancing, clapping with the band and the rest of the crowd

Of course, one of the aspects of Duran Duran concerts that I love is that so much of any crowd not only knows the songs but can and do participate.  When it really works, it is magical.

Experiencing that concert high

Duran Duran concerts give the concert high like no other.  During the show, real life, problems, concerns all wash away, at least for a little while.  At the end, most people want more.  Another encore.  Another show.  Another tour.  I’m sure these shows will continue the pattern.

-A