Tag Archives: Rio

35 Years and Counting: RIO!

Can you believe it? Thirty-five wild and crazy years ago today, Rio came into our world.

I bought Rio when it came out, and for a brief time thought it was Duran Duran’s first album. I was very confused, apparently. The thing is – I’d heard Planet Earth, and I had a K-Tel record with Girls on Film, but I hadn’t heard those songs on the radio much. But Rio? Please.

Truth be told, Rio was released a full year before I believe it really took off here in America. It’s first release here fell flat, not doing particularly well. Capitol Records hired David Kershenbaum to do a dance-remix of several songs off the album (released as Carnival).  Those remixes are a little more guitar-heavy, a little less synth, a little more bass in sound. Eventually, Capitol had Kershenbaum go back and remix most of the rest of the album and then re-released it in America, promoting it as a dance album. That’s when sales started to pick up steam and the band began to climb the charts.

Suddenly Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf were everywhere, and Is There Something I Should Know wasn’t far behind…which is why I thought it was the next album, rather than being the first.  But then again, my UK friends will remind me that it was NOT the first, because on their version of the first album – ITSISK is nowhere to be found, and they are correct.  It’s just on our altered US versions that there’s no To The Shore, with ITSISK instead. (my head is spinning even as I recall this from memory)

Honestly, if you want my most vivid memories from Rio, they would be my realizing that I had the order of their albums wrong….and that champagne stuff Simon drank while in the ocean.  To this very day, every single time I think of Rio, that vision comes to mind. Not the fake crab on Roger, not pallid-looking Nick in the galley, definitely not a daydreamy John Taylor on the sand or even Andy being thrown overboard…but Simon, drinking out of a champagne glass in the ocean.

I just don’t know.

Despite testing the waters with Planet Earth and even Girls on Film before the Rio album – it was truly this album that set my world on fire. I think that the band continues to be judged for Rio, without a lot of regard for anything else they’ve done (perhaps with a few exceptions), and many believe it to be the pinnacle of their career.

I love Rio. I also appreciate and love everything Duran Duran has done (yes, even RCM. Ok?!?), because at this point, nearly forty years into our journey – it really IS about the whole journey. It has been a crazy, wicked, wild, ride, and I’m ready for more.

I am writing this and I haven’t had any time yet this morning to actually listen to the oral history. I’m hoping to get a chance later today….but I might just have to let Amanda be the one to comment on it due to a lack of time on my part. Or else, I’ll comment later. I am really looking forward to hearing it though, because it’s not that often we get the opportunity to look back at something with the band and get their point of view.

It’s a special day in Duranland, and I’m thankful to be able to be here and experience it with everyone else. Happy 35th Birthday, Rio!

-R

Happy 35th Anniversary, Hungry Like the Wolf!

May the Fourth be with you.

(I am so sorry. I just had to do it.)

Is anybody HUNGRY???

(I should be taken out back and beaten at this point. I blame Simon. He made me do it. All those shows…I’ve clearly been brainwashed.)

OK, let’s get serious here. On this date in 1982, “Hungry Like the Wolf” came bounding into our lives, and clawed its way into the depths of our hearts. It continues to be one of the small group of songs I hear on the radio anytime they play Duran Duran. (Girls on Film, Planet Earth, Rio, ITSISK, Save a Prayer, Come Undone, and Ordinary World make up the majority of the DD songs I hear on mainstream radio) It has been thirty-five years, and its notoriety is still going strong. The song will likely still be played on the radio well after I leave this earth, and will outlive all of us.

Let’s get something straight: I don’t hate the song. Hate is a strong word. It’s unfair to assume that just because I hang my head in defeat at a show every single time the opening drum beat sounds, that I must hate it. I do not. I sing the “doo doo do-do, doo do-do, doo do-do, doo do-do, do-do” with the band every time I’m in front of them at a show. I try not to roll my eyes or laugh at Nick as he peers down over his keyboards at us (I swear he’s just daring me). I behave, and I am a good sport. Mostly.

After all, “Hungry Like the Wolf” is at least part of what got us here, isn’t it?  I mean, many of us knew of the band before that song came along, but many others of us did not. That song helped break America, so I can’t hate it, and I don’t. I still love the video, for instance. I mean, who does NOT love the video??? John Taylor, running through a street looking for Simon – who OF COURSE – is nowhere to be found because he’s in hot pursuit of a woman. Always a troublemaker, that Simon. <insert wink here> The video certainly didn’t make me swear off the band, that is for sure.

So yes, even I look back fondly at this day, thirty-five years ago. While I’ve grown cough, cough….tired….of this song taking up valuable real estate in the set list, I get it.

I play along, and yes, I ENJOY IT.  Happy Anniversary, “Hungry Like the Wolf”!

Let’s just watch the video again. Maybe I missed something the first 15,834,734 times I watched it!

Totally 80’s with Rio!

I was thoroughly spoiled on Friday night, as I stood less than 30 feet away from Simon Le Bon as he sang Is There Something I Should Know AND Late Bar in a single set in a small, intimate bar in Fullerton, California. Of course, John, Roger, Andy and Nick were there too, and Duran Duran was on fire…playing everything from Sound of Thunder to Notorious, deep cuts to big hits. Duranies lined the stage, and while I only saw one pair of panties thrown…it was a good night.

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t really Simon. Or John, Roger, Andy and Nick for that matter. Particularly given the fact that they were in Argentina that night, and oh yes – Andy is no longer with the band – I kind of knew it was going to be tough to sell anyone on that story.  So who was the band and where was I? The band was of course Rio: the Duran Duran tribute band, and the venue was the Totally 80’s Bar and Grille.

Here’s the thing – as far as bars go, the Totally 80’s Bar is every 80s cliché wrapped up into one building. Neon, black lights, TV monitors on the wall playing completely different videos from the music pouring out of the speaker, even the same really gross, dank, but not entirely off putting, “ick” oozing from its walls. As I stood at the bar, nursing one of the worst vodka tonics I’ve ever had, I watched a guy dancing and spinning alone in the corner of the dance floor. I almost had to pinch myself, because I’d swear I saw that same dude thirty years ago at Fashions on the Redondo Beach pier.  Yeah, for me, Totally 80’s was nearly like stepping back in time….and falling flat on my face in a sea of neon paint with Apollonia 6 serenading me like carnival music in a fun house.  In a word: weird.  Fun, but weird.

I think that in order to appreciate the sights and sounds, you must have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Some do, as they come dressed proudly in 80s garb with a side ponytail and enough neon lighting bolts to power their own homes. Others, like me, are little more apprehensive and less likely to fully embrace 1980-something coming back to life. We come to see bands we think we know play music we rarely get to hear live.

As showtime neared, I was once again flabbergast to see Duranies – and yes, you can tell they’re Duranies because some even wear their Paper Gods touring t-shirts, which is both appropriate and cute in this setting – grabbing the front and center spots. They were ready to do battle if necessary to defend their territory from the few women (oh yes, even here) that feel they should always be awarded a spot directly in front of the singer, even if they drunkenly arrive mid-set. Truthfully, I can’t find fault with the Duranies in front, even if I chose not to join them in favor or standing back to watch the scene unfold. The die-hard in me screamed to go to the front, while the more reasonable side constantly reminded me that this was not really Duran Duran. The dance floor filled nicely for Rio, and once the band took the stage, even people from the back of the bar came to check the band out.

I hadn’t seen Rio perform live for about a year, and it might have been longer than that, now that I think about it. I can’t always make it to their shows (this is a tribute band that plays regularly so that Duranies can always get their fix, should the need arise!), but I go when I can.  Since my last trip to 1985 (with Rio, of course), they’ve had a personnel change. Not to be confused with the real Duran Duran (although they will tell you that they are in fact the real Duran Duran), in this case it is their keyboardist who has recently changed. Not sure if the sub “Nick” will stick around, but he was good.

I know a lot of people wince at the idea of a tribute band. I was one of those, once. Two things make Rio different: 1. They take the music seriously, even though sure – the “act” is a schtick of sorts. They’re not making fun of Duran Duran, they’re emulating them as they tell the crowd that we’ve all been taken back to 1985 in a time machine and that it’s going to be a party. These guys are fans – and I know this because I’ve hung out with them after Duran Duran shows! In turn, they make their own show fun, and do the music all kinds of justice. I’m picky about my Is There Something I Should Know, and they play it true to form….every time. EVERY TIME.  2. They don’t just play the hits. They also play the deep cuts only Duranies know. That’s the one thing I have to say, even when they’re playing Late Bar, everyone is dancing on that floor. I wish Duran Duran (the real band) could see it, because it’s a sight to behold. John Taylor may say that only die-hard fans in the first row or two know the song at his shows – but at these shows? Everybody knows it, or it’s so damn good they dance anyway.

So while Duran Duran may never play Late Bar or Sound of Thunder, Rio does…and they do it brilliantly. If you haven’t had a chance to see them, you should make the time. I’ll even save you space on the dance floor.

-R

Have you been to the British Music Experience?

On this date in 2009, the British Music Experience opened at the O2 in London.

Amanda and I have actually been to the British Music Experience! We visited the O2 when in London back in  May of 2011 and went into the exhibit. Somehow, I think we felt that if we at least went to the O2, we’d feel better about the shows being cancelled (I am speaking for the both of us: it did not), and at least we would see the British Music Experience (wish it had been Duran Duran instead, but the BME was interesting).

Ok, so after writing that last sentence, I need to admit that I remember very little of the BME (and I really hope these memories are from the BME or else this entire post is about to get embarrassing) with the exception that I saw the blue suit that Roger Taylor wore for Rio (because really, isn’t that the most important thing anyway??) of which I recall two things:

  1. It was TINY.  I mean seriously small. I couldn’t have fit one leg into those pants, much less the suit jacket. I consoled myself by saying that he was practically a child himself when he wore it.
  2. It was so SHINY.  I wondered just how comfortable that fabric (silk) was in the blazing sun all day. Hot and sweaty I’m sure…

moving on…

I also remember that there was some sort of wall outside that served as a timeline (and in this moment I’m really hoping that I’m remembering these things correctly or else I’ve recalled another part of our trip entirely, which would be embarrassing…but not really all that surprising for me.) *sigh*

Oh, I also remember there being some sort of map thing in the center of the exhibit. I want to say it included the cities in Great Britain along with the musicians that came from there.  And that concludes my working memories from there unless I go dig through my pictures. I know there had to be a lot in there on the Beatles, and many other bands too, but you know….Duran Duran was on the brain.  As usual.

-R