Yesterday’s winner: Secret Oktober
Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist: American Science or A Matter of Feeling?
Yesterday’s winner: Secret Oktober
Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist: American Science or A Matter of Feeling?
Yesterday’s winner: Hold Back the Rain
Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist: Shadows on Your Side or Secret Oktober?
Yesterday’s winner: Secret Oktober
Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist: That Fatal Kiss or American Science?
Yesterday’s winner: Shadows on Your Side
Which song would you rather have ADDED to the Setlist: The Seventh Stranger or Secret Oktober?
Duran Duran’s set list is a topic of conversation that is not just argued about amongst band members. It is a subject that comes up any time there might be the announcement of shows. First comes the flurry of excitement that comes with ticket sales and so forth, and before long, Duran Duran’s set list becomes the hot topic.
Even here on Daily Duranie, the set list comes up often. We probably add to the discussion through our daily polls and my complaints of Hungry Like the Wolf over the years. There are those, like myself, that feel as though it’s time for set list makeover; and then there are those who always chime in at the right moment to say “I’ll take anything!!”
Since the War Child UK show will take place tomorrow, the band has been rehearsing in their studio space to prepare. Luckily for fans, pictures have been shared and posted online. One of the photos includes one of the computers with tracks listed across the top (if you have a magnifying glass…my 44-year old eyes can’t see the print, even WITH the Lasik I had done!), and it was dully noted that Duran Duran’s set list appears to be much of the same as it has been for the past ten years. While this certainly wasn’t surprising (John himself commented in a recent Katy Kafe that they wouldn’t be playing new music), it was noted that it is a shame so many other albums and songs are ignored in favor of solely playing the most recognizable songs in their catalog.
A few of us were lamenting over Duran Duran’s set list, and one fairly well-known figure from the band’s crew commented in defense of the band, saying that fans really don’t understand the amount of time it takes to put songs into Duran Duran’s set list. This person noted the amount of time the tech staff needs (at least one full day per song), and then rehearsal time for the band members that probably do not know the song. (I am assuming the band mentioned are not John, Roger, Simon or Nick…but instead people such as Anna, Dom, Simon Willescroft and whatever percussionists are involved.) For all of that additional time requires more hotel stay for whomever needs it, and all of that time adds up to money out-of-pocket.
My first thought upon reading all of this was that it’s a shame technology has gotten in the way of just playing the damn songs. My second thought, and the one I chose to reply with, was that it is sad. And it is. It is sad to me that out of the hundreds of songs in their catalog, or any band’s catalog for that matter, it comes down to a mere twenty or twenty-five that get played with any kind of regularity. In many cases, those twenty are not even the best songs, but instead the ones that the public knows, because otherwise, as this crew member mentioned – you’ll have the audience staring at their watches waiting for the next hit.
For me it is truly a double-edged sword that this band is so well-loved by people who don’t know them at all beyond possibly Union of the Snake. (and I will bet my next cup of coffee that there will be people in the audience tomorrow evening that don’t even know THAT song.) In many ways, those folks ruin it for the rest of us, the dreaded diehards. However, those “You mean the band has other albums that came out after Notorious??” people are honestly the band’s bread and butter. It isn’t me – lover of “Secret Oktober”, and “Late Bar” – that the band counts on. I wish it were. Instead, it is the people who know what Rio sounds like, remember the band from their videos in the 80’s, and might even know that the band is responsible for “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” that pay their bills. There are far, far more of those people out there than there are people like me, who know this band inside and out and have every biography written about them, or not only know that John Taylor had a solo career, but own his solo catalog. There are far more people who still wonder to this day, “Which one is Andy?” than there are people like us who wonder when they’re going to make Dom a full-fledged member. The people who still think the song is named “Hungry Like A Wolf” far exceed those of us who’d like to smack those people in the face for screwing up the title. This is the reason why, in every single interview they will do to promote the next album and beyond, they will continue to have to comment on “getting back together”, “this isn’t the original five, is it?”, and “are the Taylors really not related at all?”
Cold, harsh realities. Imagine being the band???
So while we take time to occasionally complain that Duran Duran’s set list hasn’t really changed much in ten years, and we will because it is only natural, it might also be fortuitous to think about those cold facts I mentioned. You and I, along with the rest of the fan community that come out in support of the shows is but a very small percentage of that audience. Alarmingly small, in my opinion. So, when they pull out an “obscurity” like they did in say, Brighton of 2011, when they played Secret Oktober, we must remember how special that was, and treasure it for all it is worth.
I get it.
…But I’ll still be checking MY watch when Hungry Like the Wolf is played.
I thought this would be simple when I decided that this would be a good blog topic and one that would renew my Duranie spirit. You see, last week I said that I would share my top ten favorite fandom moments, which you could read about here. Yet, it wasn’t that simple. At times, I struggled to think of anything and, other times, I had a huge list pop into my head. After thinking it over for a week, here is what I finally decided on. I attempted to put this list in order with the biggest moment being last. I doubt that I was successful, but I did try. I will also say this. I enjoyed doing this. I want to see Rhonda’s Top 10 list. I would also love to see our regular guest bloggers join in and any of our readers. I think we could all use this right about now.
TOP TEN FANDOM MOMENTS:
10. Falling in love with the Reflex at the age of 8 in 1984
How could I not include when and why I became a Duranie? After all, it started it all, right? This song and video were on constant rotation in the spring of 1984. While my best friend, at the time, and I liked Duran Duran before, this song made us addicts. We were so ridiculous that we would call each other each and every time we saw it or heard it!
9. John Taylor’s James Bond socks in 2006
How many of you were on DuranDuranMusic’s message boards in 2006? If you were and are a John Taylor fan, then, you probably hung out on the thread entitled, “Church of the Bass God”. Well, that year, the fans in that area of the board decided that we should send John Taylor socks for his birthday after he showed up wearing bright socks at the end of the Astronaut tour. Many pairs of socks were sent, including a pair from me. Pictures of John opening the box along with some of the socks made it back to the fans. I was super excited to see John with the pair I had sent him!!! Obviously, I sent James Bond socks! That isn’t the end of the story, though. Later, that year, at the Voodoo Music Festival, I held up a sign asking to see John’s socks. While he looked confused as heck when he read it, he still lifted his leg. Unfortunately, since he was right in front of me, all I saw was the bottom of his shoe! Fast forward to December of 2007 when Duran did an in-store cd signing in Chicago. When I got to John, I asked him about the socks. He clearly remembered the story and knew that we also sent scarves the next year! Very cool!
8. Walking around Birmingham in May of 2011
While my trip to the UK in the spring of 2011 did not go as planned because the shows got canceled, there was one important highlight. This highlight happened the first full day in the UK and was when Rhonda and I walked around Birmingham. I had done some research about where key Duran related locations were. We weren’t able to hit them all, but what we did see really helped us to see Duran Duran in a different light. I felt like I understood the band in a different way, in a more thorough way than I did before. It made them less celebrity and more human.
7. Seeing the band outside of their studio in May of 2011 when Simon lost his voice.
This highlight is connected to the last one. When we arrived in the UK in May of 2011, only the first 3 shows out of our scheduled 4 were canceled. We held out hope that the London show might take place. A friend of ours let us know where the band would be rehearsing. How could we not go? We were all the way over in the UK, right? Of course, we would not get in their way. In fact, we wouldn’t say anything unless they said something to us. I just figured it might be the only way/place for us to see them. When Simon arrived that day, he explained to the fans there, including us, that things were not looking good. At that moment, I felt certain that this was it. The end. I didn’t say anything to anyone–not even to Rhonda. I thought that if I said it, then it would be true. I couldn’t handle that. Yet, I had one comforting thought. If it was the end, then, I saw something historic, something important. I was there and we were able to give some support. Thankfully, it wasn’t the end and Simon bounced back, stronger than ever!
6. Listening to All You Need Is Now for the first time in December of 2010
It is no secret that Rhonda and I weren’t wild about Red Carpet Massacre. I was concerned that Duran might have lost their touch to make a complete, coherent album–one of quality and essential Duran elements. Yet, they did just that with All You Need Is Now. The album as an entire piece is fabulous. I still think that. It is one of the very best Duran albums ever. When I heard this album, I knew that Duran would have a great tour and I had to do as much as I could to participate. 2011 was a pretty tough year for me (cat died, grandma died, work was awful, had to participate in protests to defend myself, my colleagues, my profession, my rights). The only thing that kept me going was this album and the tour that followed.
5. The Chicago show in March of 2005
This was my first Duran show after the reunion. Interestingly enough, I believed that this would be the first time to see the entire Fab Five together. Andy couldn’t be there as his dad was very ill. Thus, it was my first show with Dom Brown. It was also the show that started most of my touring traditions that I still follow today, including touring with Rhonda. What are some of those traditions? Staying up really late, drinking all of the vodka in a city, eating at IHOP, laughing non-stop, keeping a list of quotes from the tour and more. On top of all of that, it was a great show!
4. Hearing/Seeing Duran performance Secret Oktober live in Brighton in November 2011.
I’m sure that we have talked about this moment on the blog before. Heck, we will probably talk about it again. After having seen Secret Oktober appear on set lists in various cities in the Fall, we were constantly hoping to hear it as it is a favorite of ours. When we got to the UK and to the show in Brighton, we were no longer focused on the setlist. After having gone to the UK earlier in the year only to have no shows and having fear that we wouldn’t even make this one due to a public union strike, all that mattered to us was seeing the show. Then, when those first notes began, I think our joy could no longer be sustained as we looked at each other and hugged. Like goofs. Then, we saw Nick look totally amused. It was a moment that represents our victory by getting to see the band play in the UK.
3. John Taylor wearing the Daily Duranie wristband at his Chicago Book Signing in October of 2012.
Another moment that I have blogged about here previously. This moment took place at John’s book signing in Chicago. When I got to the table to get John to sign my book (and Rhonda’s!), I decided that I should give him a wristband, a wristband about this little blog. After that, I walked away as my time was up and wasn’t going to think about it again. I’m a dork so I had to walk past his table one more time in order to get my coat. When I glanced over, what was he wearing?! The wristband!!! I couldn’t believe it! I never would have thought that he would have put mine on. After all, he was given a lot of stuff. I just assumed that he would have put it to the side. On days and moments that I allow myself a break from reality, I imagine that it means that he is supportive of the blog!
2. Creating this blog, finishing the draft of our book and successfully organizing Durandemonium in October 2013.
I don’t have much to say about this one. I know that Rhonda and I are a bit weird in that we have taken our fandom beyond what most people do. We weren’t content enough just enough to be fans. We had and have to do more with it.
1. Meeting Rhonda at the 78-03 Friends of Mine: Duran Duran Fans Convention in New Orleans in September 2004 and other friends then since then.
At the end, when the band ceases to create new music or play shows, this is what I will hold dear. I will hold my friendship(s) dear. What will live on will be these memories and my friendships. After all, really isn’t that what fandom is all about? Using an interest to make long-lasting connections to others? Absolutely.
I encourage each and every one of you to create your list and to send it to us as a guest blog!
On todays date in 2011, Duran Duran played at the Trinity Center in Bristol , UK. This date was the third show to be played after Simon LeBon’s vocal chords healed enough to be able to perform after having to cancel 47 dates included in the All You Need is Now World tour in 2011-2012. This show, along with three other very small UK gigs, were dubbed “the rehearsal gigs”, as the band prepared to go back out on tour. Duranies were elated that Simon’s voice had returned, seemingly stronger than it had ever been prior.
I’ve found a video clip to share (thanks to Mimi!!) and you BET I’m gonna show Secret Oktober!!!
You are not seeing things. We are doing another review within a month! I know! It is shocking! This time around we are reviewing, discussing, looking at Secret Oktober, the b-side to Union of the Snake. Many of us heard this song for the first time after buying the single of Union of the Snake but many of us heard it for the first time as the credits rolled at the end of Sing Blue Silver. No matter if you heard it via the single or via the documentary, many fans fell instantly in love with this song. Now, if you have been reading this blog for awhile now, you probably know if we are among those who fell hard for this song. Read the full review to see if we are and why!
Musicality/Instrumentation: I will not lie, this is by far one of my most favorite Duran Duran songs ever. A little known secret about me is that I have a very hard time listening to this song without crying. I don’t know why. (psychosis? Probably.) There is no such thing as NOT being biased on this one and I won’t even try. I can already tell you it earns 5+ cocktails because it is musical perfection and that’s the end of that. But, since Amanda will try to throttle me (she’s got to catch me first) if I don’t do a full review….here we go: I love this from the first bell. I like the quiet, calming subtlety. I don’t care that there is not really any guitar to speak of (shocking, I know). The same could be said for bass. The keyboards transport me away, and I just don’t think Nick Rhodes has ever written better. That one loop…it keeps time throughout the song and for some reason, it’s hypnotic enough to work. I love the way Roger’s percussion is just barely there – just enough to hear it without it overpowering.
Vocals: I don’t typically get chills, but when you sit and listen to this – you hear two vocal parts. The part where Simon sings, and the part where Simon speaks his part in a lower voice. It gives me chills. There is no straining, there really isn’t a ton of stacked harmonization going on, it’s just Simon and I really can’t say how he could have improved…it’s perfect.
Lyrics: Where to start? This song makes me so sad at times. It’s one of those songs that I heard as a kid and didn’t have the first clue, but then as an adult I hear it and know without a doubt that it’s about me. I mean, not REALLY me because Simon didn’t know who in the hell I am from Adam (or Eve…) back then…or now…but it’s about me and probably a million other Duranies out there. My favorite line in the song, and quite possibly my most favorite line of lyric ever: “Free fall on a windy morning shore, nothing but a faded track of footsteps could prove that you’ve never been there.” The whole song to me just describes being alive but not fully present. It’s like you’re there…but you’re not really there. I just think this is Simon at his absolute best, and to think it was written and recorded in 24 hours blows my mind.
Overall: I have such a hard time believing that this was written in such a short period of time, but then I do tend to believe that some of the very best songs end up writing themselves. Sometimes you don’t have to tinker with things to make them work. This song feels organic and real in every single way, even though it was done during the Seven and the Ragged Tiger period it doesn’t feel at all overproduced, and although it doesn’t have much by way of instrumentation beyond the vocals, the synthesizers and percussion…it’s still perfect with the very slight exception that it’s not nearly long enough. I WISH THEY WOULD PLAY THIS ONE LIVE MORE OFTEN!!
Cocktail Rating: I already told you…. 5 cocktails!!
Musicality/Instrumentation: Before I even listened to this song again to properly review it, I knew that I wasn’t going to be completely objective. Some songs are tough to be that way and this one certainly is as it reminds me both of 1984 and of the UK tour in 2011. Still, as I listened to the song for the millionth time, I did the best I could to REALLY listen. Of course, the first thing that grabs my attention and always has is that very unique beginning with the gentle sounds to start it. From there, the song is filled with what sounds like a lot of keyboards, some that are constant and other keyboard sounds that come briefly. These extra sounds remind me of wind chimes as they are relatively quiet and peaceful. I don’t hear a lot of other instrumentation. Normally that would bother me but this time it just works. It creates a very strong mood and allows for Simon’s strong vocals and lyrics to shine.
Vocals: I always loved Simon’s voice. Who hasn’t? Yet, for some reason, I don’t think I really noticed them as a kid until this song. I love the deeper range that he has during the verses, really matching the instrumentation. Plus, I like the little echo of his vocals that is even deeper, creating depth and more emotion. Then, of course, as the song moves further along, Simon’s vocals become even more passionate, drawing attention to the emotion, to the heart of the lyrics, which could be deemed the chorus of the song as lines repeat.
Lyrics: When I think of this song, I probably think about the lyrics first and foremost. After all, it does feature one of the best Duran lines ever with, “All night parties, cocktail bars”. To me, it describes the lifestyle that Duran seems to exemplify and one that ultimately reminds me of touring or the best parts of touring. Beyond that fabulous, fabulous line, how are the rest of the lyrics? I loved the lyrics as a kid because it seemed like great poetry with references to trains, butterflies, birthday parties, etc. Now, of course, I can look at the lyrics and see how it fits with so many lyrics of this time. It shows the partying lifestyle but with a sense of loneliness, probably the loneliness that comes with fame and lack of real connection. The song is still filled with beautiful poetry with the use of weather and nature imagery. This is made all the more impressive since it was written, recorded and mixed within 24 hours.
Overall: To me, this is one of those special songs. Is it because I have connected it to the magical time of 1984 or because now I have connected to it to the UK tour of 2011? I’m sure that is part of it. Yet, the poetry of the lyrics really hits me, each and every time. It has memorable lines and soft, gentle music that just resonates with me. While the production does clearly place it within the Seven and the Ragged Tiger time period, it doesn’t feel too much to me or feel overproduced. It is allowed to just be. Perhaps, that is because they did the song so quickly. There simply wasn’t time to do more. Yet, I would argue that less is more, in this case. Probably, the only drawback for me is the length. It is too short. Still, how could I give it anything less than…
Cocktail Rating: 5 cocktails!