I promised the name of this review for their show at The Belasco Theater was going to be Version 11. I don’t know what wise guy numbered the set lists for this tour……
I am thrilled to take a small break from writing to say hi and share a little bit of my experience from Monday, especially while the band is likely 40,000 feet up, headed back home!
To begin with, I don’t mind writing that the pre-sale for this last-minute show was a challenge of epic proportions. However, I could have predicted that as soon as I heard that Ticketmaster was handling the sales. I’m sorry to report that way, but it’s the truth. I heard tales from fans who were even unable to get onto Duran Duran’s website, much less Ticketmaster. I heard the password didn’t work for many, and in my own case – I just kept getting kicked out of the Ticketmaster portion of the sale and had to keep putting the password back in to try for tickets again and again. Speaking of which, there is something VERY wrong when at 10:00 on the dot I am requesting tickets and am already being told there are none. I ended up with one ticket (needed two), and decided to try my luck at on the Live Nation pre-sale, which went far better. Early entry be damned, at least I was going.
Speed ahead less than two weeks to the actual show, which took place on Monday, May 2nd. Unfortunately, there was no way for Amanda to get out here (we are sinking everything we’ve got into our July shows – the band is going to see us all month-long at various gigs, so they should be prepared and plan their spit-zones accordingly.), and for some strange reason – my husband decided he needed to go with me. We went with a couple of my other Duranie friends (shout outs to Shelly & Katie), and planned to make a day of it, languishing on the beautifully picturesque Los Angeles sidewalks as we wait all day in the lovely GA line. I had gotten reports that there were people in line as early as 3am for the show, and felt that was definitely over the limit of what I would be willing to do for this band. (Yes actually, I do have some limits!) Turns out that no, actually there was someone in line at midnight for the show. (Oh hell no. I don’t ever need the front that bad!) So, by the time we arrived at The Belasco at 12:30 – we were pleased to see that the line really wasn’t very long at all. We set up camp for the day, complete with chairs, blankets, some snacks and beverages.
Here’s the thing about GA lines. They don’t suck unless you’re stuck in the rain or bad weather. Otherwise, there is a lot of socializing that goes on, and just like any other show – I have a great time seeing people I hadn’t seen in months, so my afternoon was spent roaming up and down the line chatting with people, and the time flew by. Before I knew it they were setting up barricades and we were packing up and getting ready to go in.
Once inside, we settled into some prime viewing spots. I have to say, the audience, at least for me, was well-behaved. No pushing, shoving or trying to get up to the front. It was really nice, and I am happy to say I didn’t even mind it being GA for a change! Before long, Mr. Hudson came out to do his DJ set. I’m going to be honest – I had low expectations. I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured there would be mostly music I didn’t know, and maybe I’d find something I liked. I was wrong. Mr. Hudson knew his audience, and he played a LOT of fantastic music. He had no trouble looking at the crowd, smiling and seemed to have a great time himself. We danced along and after what felt like a super short set, he was leaving the stage and the roadies came out to set up for the main event.
Rather than retell the entire show, I’m going to focus on a few areas:
I was near the front, but for me, the sound seemed really muddy at times. I hope it’s not my hearing but you never know!! I had a hard time even hearing some of Mr. Hudson’s music, and then when the band came out there were certain songs that just didn’t sound clear. I am assuming it was the sound system and acoustics of the venue that sucked. Even at the very end when John spoke into the microphone I only picked up on bits of what he said and I couldn’t hear Nick at all. (if anyone knows what they said could you let me know?) This was the first time I’d seen the updated visuals and even the risers the band was on – for this show the risers/steps didn’t correspond with the onscreen visuals (they didn’t light up at all), but the visuals were really nice. The one thing I have to mention is that the band doesn’t move as much as they used to…and by the band I mean John, Dom & Simon. I couldn’t decide if this was because the stage was small (and it was) or if it was because their current production and choreography has them standing pretty much in their own spots. Since this was the only time I saw them, I couldn’t tell. Maybe the band was just tired. ???
Other than that though, I thought they looked and sounded great. Some said that Simon sounded raspy and I did see him cough but I guess I didn’t pick up on his voice being as raspy as it was in the weeks prior. I liked how he sat down during What are the Chances, too.
This was the only show I saw for this leg of their tour, and honestly – while the set list has a few additions (the short medley including NMOM, the Space Oddity tribute to Bowie and IDWYL), the rest of the set is pretty much the same as I saw in October.
To the band: I heard what you said in your Sirius XM town hall, that you’re aware the diehards want B-sides but that it’s not feasible because no one else knows those songs, and it would also mean relearning how to play them. I guess from our point of view as fans, there comes a point when it makes zero sense to keep going to see the same basic show over and over again, and that is really what it’s become as of late to many people. I can’t say I’m in that group yet because I’ve got tickets to 8 shows in July. (I deserve every last one of them and it’s the way A & I are going to celebrate finishing our manuscript), but I see their point as well as I see that of the band. I walked up and down the GA line on Monday – I wish I would have taken video (and in July I will), because nearly everyone I spoke with are doing less shows this summer as a direct result of the set list not changing enough. So I guess it comes down to whether or not the die hards really make enough of a difference in ticket sales (which I doubt, but I don’t know), and whether it’s worth the time to remember how to play Careless Memories or Friends of Mine or Late Bar, Secret Oktober, New Religion (which we’ve surveyed as being the #1 most requested song die hards want to hear)…etc. I don’t know. I don’t think anyone expects an entirely new set list, but I think being brave enough to switch out a few would freshen the show as much for us as it would the band.
New Moon on Monday
All of that said, in my opinion, I have to be honest – I stood in awe several times during the show on Monday. When Simon sang New Moon on Monday – even though it was only 25 seconds – my heart swelled. I haven’t heard that song live in many years (I can’t remember when it was played last). I adored every second of it and honestly just stopped and stood there, trying to soak it all in. I had goosebumps and thoroughly enjoyed every single second.
I Don’t Want Your Love
Another great moment for me was during IDWYL. Again, it’s been a while since it was played – and when it stopped showing up on the set list I was happy to see it get a rest, but now that it’s back in the set it feels rejuvenated. The band seems happy playing it, and the fans really seemed to get into it too.
The Space Oddity tribute was really, really cool – thank goodness the band has a guitar player (Dom Brown) that can handle it. I’d hate to have to see poor Nick have to sample all of that, otherwise. 😉 I even got teary eyed. It was a beautiful moment that I’m glad I was able to see. While I still think SAP does not belong in the encore, I loved the tribute to Prince with the lovely things Simon said about him. For me, I’m still rocked to the core that he’s gone, and it’s nice to know the band cared enough to say something.
In a perfect world, the band would change-up their set even a little before July. I know I’m a big (and loud) proponent of some of the obscurities – but even if the band didn’t incorporate B-sides, there are other ways. They could shelve three songs that are tired, break down the set and they don’t give the impact the band needs, and add in three others that haven’t been played in years but are still known to many like New Religion, All You Need is Now, and maybe Serious…but those are just three off the top of my head from a catalog of thousands and at this point – I don’t really care what they put in the set as long as it’s new. The few I’d remove might be: AVTAK, Come Undone and Ordinary World (with What are the Chances you don’t need both – and WATC is the one you need to be selling right now anyway). Granted, for every song I mentioned there are going to people screaming, “NOOOOO not that one.” No kidding. We all have favorites, and yeah I’ve seen the outcry for The Reflex. Too damn bad. That’s the way it works folks, and I didn’t even bother to mention Rio, HLTW or GOF because those are stalwarts in every way for this band. Yeah, I’m tired of HLTW but it is the song everybody on the planet knows. I get it. I see it when they play, and to be fair, I still dance and sing along, so what can I say?? I’m just gonna roll my eyes every time and Nick can smirk in my direction. No one will die if they miss AVTAK, but I think some might without Rio and HLTW. That said – if the band ever plays a fan show with B-sides (dreams are free) I had better not hear anything about anyone being hungry.
….you know, another way for them to handle this is to play a longer set like some of their contemporaries already do. Just saying. Ok, ok…moving on…
Still hate the spit zone (White Lines), but the good news is that I ducked. Unfortunately, I failed to warn my husband. Oops. He especially enjoyed the grin on Nick’s face as Simon spewed over the top of us. (ha ha ha)
The confetti canon is a great moment. I love it and I hope they don’t get rid of it. Still think Pressure Off is a fantastic song, I just wish we had radio stations with platforms to support it. (don’t we all?)
Danceophobia has really lost it’s luster for me. I picture it as a sort of rusted, slightly dented mirror ball now. It’s as used as Lohan herself (too much??), and it’s time to put it away. Not even John’s dancing can save it, and now that Jessie Wagner is no longer touring with the band, why even bother – not even Lindsey knows the words anyway.
Best moment of the show for me? New Moon on Monday.
Worst? When they left the stage and the house lights went up. 🙂
Biggest surprise? It’s a tie: Kiesza coming out to sing Last Night in the City, which was VERY fun and a real treat – she is darling and is an amazing singer, and I Don’t Want Your Love – I thought I’d still be bored with it, and wasn’t.
I can’t wait until July 8th. Chicago. By then, I’ll be done writing and ready for a month-long party.
I hope the band will be ready. For now, back to the salt-mines with me!