Tag Archives: The Killers

It’s Going to Tempt You

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I’m sure that those of you who are reading this blog post who know me personally might even be laughing at the thought.  Yes, it is true.  Typically, I take a long time to make a decision even when I have thought about my choices over time.  Let me give you an example.  Over the course of my life, I have saved money to buy the latest electronic gadget.  I will then research, decide on the best option, and save money for whatever I want.  Then, I go to the store to finally buy it and I will still stand there and debate the decision to myself once again.  I kid you not.  This indecisiveness happens with work, too.  For instance, it comes each and every time I don’t feel good.  I will literally spend hours going back and forth about calling in sick.  Why do I do this?  I suppose it is insecurity about doing the right thing.  Should I really miss work?  Should I really spend the money?

Funny enough, the one area of my life that tends not to be indecisive is when it comes to my fandom.  Just ask Rhonda.  It does not take me long from reading or hearing about a new show announcement to deciding that we should go.  Typically, if I see a Duran alert about a new show, by the time I am contacting Rhonda, I already have a tentative plan about what we should do in order to go.  Fandom is the one aspect of my life that I truly allow my heart to lead rather than my head.  Of course, this sometimes has gotten me into trouble.    Take the UK tour of 2011.  The shows were announced.  Tickets went on sale within 24 hours of the press release.  If we were going to go, we needed to buy them then, we said.  So we did.  I knew that this tour, which was to take place in May, was pretty awful timing in terms of work but I just went for it.  I assumed that I would get those details figured out later.  Well…a month or so later, I did get it approved but it took a lot of effort by contacting a lot of people to help me.  If I had thought more, I probably shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have gone for this idea, but I didn’t.  It was Duran.  It was Duran on tour in the UK with my friends.  I didn’t think.  I just acted.

Do I regret the decision to go to the UK for this tour?  No.  Not one little bit.  Did it suck that I had to push hard to get to go, to get approval from work?  Absolutely.  Did I ever give up?  Strangely enough, I didn’t.  Maybe, I should have.  Some might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn’t go, that it wasn’t meant to be.  Still, I pushed.  Now, we know that those UK shows in May of 2011 did not happen.  Strangely enough, I still don’t regret going even with the extreme effort with work.  I learned a lot about myself, fandom, Duran Duran and friendships during that trip.

Of course, over the course of my fandom, I have gone to other events that I should not have due to my crappy schedule.  The best example of this is when I went to John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago in late October 2012.  Not only was that night a “school night” meaning that I had to work the next day but it was also days away from Election Day.  This meant that I was working about 80 hours a week between teaching and campaigning.  I knew that the responsible thing would have been to stay at home, get more work done, go to sleep at a decent hour, etc. but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  This was John Taylor.  Was it crazy of me?  Absolutely.  I remember standing in line to get my book signed and answering call after call about the campaign.  Then, I ended up with like 3 hours of sleep, if that.  Yet, it was amazing night that was worth the multi-tasking and the sleep deprivation.

Now, I face a similar situation.  It, unfortunately, isn’t with Duran Duran or John Taylor but with the Killers.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you probably know that both Rhonda and I love the Killers.  I would definitely pick them for my second favorite band and I have been lucky enough to see them live a number of times.  Well, a few days ago I saw an event on Facebook stating that they are playing in nearby Milwaukee on September 4th.  Sometimes, I think there is a conspiracy against me.  What date is September 4th?  It is literally the first day of school with students.  On that date, 9th graders come to learn their way around the building as they walk through their schedules and meet their teachers.  It is not a regular day of school but it is tiring as there is lots to do to get ready.  The next day, the 5th, will mark the first normal day of school in which all students come and attend class during regular hours.  Ugh.  What a terrible date for a concert!

So, once I saw the event, I shared it and began debating to go or not to go.  It is right in the beginning of the year,

which means that I am already super exhausted.  That said, I also can and will be prepared so that I can leave right at the end of the day.  Should I let work dictate my life?  Should I be good and stay home?  Double ugh.  Again, I waffle.  Yesterday, though, this changed.  I found myself with a presale code for this concert.  At that moment, I did not stop and debate.  I used the code and within minutes I had tickets purchased.  Oh boy.  Will I regret this decision?  Maybe, I will when I am driving home afterwards, exhausted and begging for sleep.  Perhaps, the next day will be so painful that I will kick myself over and over again.  On the other hand, I did not second guess my decisions in those other examples.  Besides, it is a concert.  It is about seeing a fabulous band live.  How could that decision be wrong?  Now, to find someone crazy enough to go with me…

-A

The Range of Fandom Responses

Recently, when I have taken time to glance through social media, I have been seeing a lot of posts from friends talking about going to see the Killers live.  On one hand, those posts (pictures, videos, comments) make me smile.  After all, I get how fandom fills one’s heart and brings nothing but happiness.  On the other hand, it makes me a little sad since I couldn’t go see them myself this tour.  They played in Chicago and Minneapolis during semester finals week.  Those cities are the ones I can easily get to.  Unfortunately, that is the one week that I absolutely cannot be gone.  I have to give the finals and, more importantly, I have to grade them.  Work had to come first.

As I type that, though, I have to acknowledge that it would have been a different story if it was Duran.  I would have done what I need to do to get there.  Thinking back, I have bent over backwards to get to Duran functions even when the wise decision would have been not to go.  The most obvious example was the John Taylor book talk and signing that took place in Chicago in October 2012.  Life was a little…lot….super crazy then.  I could not afford to take a day off because Election Day was around the corner and I needed to be gone for that.  I had also taken time off earlier in the month to attend a President Obama rally (and to meet him that day).  My students needed me to be there.  So I did what must be done.  I drove to Chicago, attended the function, and drove right back home.  This, of course, led to more exhaustion and eventually falling ill a week or so later.

As much as I love the Killers and other bands, I won’t bend over backwards in the same way that I do for Duran.  It is as simple as that.  This reminds me of another time when I asked friends who would be into seeing Depeche Mode with me.  At that time, I had a friend say to me, “I love Depeche like you love Duran.  They are my band.”  Okay.  Cool.  I can always appreciate fandom.  Plus, I figured this meant that she was totally in for Depeche.  Funny enough, though, when it came to the actual purchase of tickets, she folded.  She wasn’t willing to part with the $150 or whatever the ticket cost was. If it was Duran, I wouldn’t have hesitated with that $150 ticket price.  Does that mean that the original statement about Depeche being her Duran was wrong?  I don’t know.  I cannot really compare someone else’s fandom to mine.  After all, some might say that I have taken this fandom thing way too far.  This blog might be one example.   Who else keeps up a daily blog for 7 years other than the two of us?  Who else is planning another convention?

Fandom is really a personal thing.  What one person is willing to do might be very different than what someone else is willing or able to do.  For me, I am willing to sacrifice a lot if it means going to something Duran.  While I love other bands, I’m going to be pretty limited in what I would want to do.  Some people, on the other hand, might be really strict at all times even with the band they love the most.  Still others might be open to doing a lot for a lot of bands they love.  This range of responses is part of what fascinates me about fandom.  I know that fandom is about having a passion for something or someone.  How that translates in real life actions depends on the person.

-A

Words, Playing Me…

I have been thinking about lyrics a lot lately.  I think it started from this set of questions of the day we have been doing.  First, we ask our readers which song has the best lyrics per album.  (We are starting Liberty, by the way!)  Then, we ask people to pick THE best lyric or line from the song that they determined had the best lyrics overall.  Eventually, we will compare all of the favorite lyrics.  Beyond the question of the day, I have also been listening to the new Killers album and trying to bond with it.  One song, in particular, has caught my attention due to the lyrics.  The song is Rut and it definitely fits how I have been feeling at/with work.  Lines like, “I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up” or “I’ve done my best defending but the punches are starting to land” make me feel as if someone is putting my feelings into words.  This personal connection to the lyrics have made me want to listen to the song a lot.

When I think back to my lifetime of listening to music, I recognize that the importance of lyrics has grown on me.  When I think back to falling for Duran, I think of songs like Save a Prayer and the Reflex.  When I think about those songs, lyrically, they make me laugh.  Save a Prayer is obviously about a one-night stand–something that my 9 year old self could not relate or connect to!  The Reflex, on the other hand, just seemed silly to me as a kid.  That song’s lyrics, though, are ones that people still seek understanding of.  In fact, our most viewed blog post of all time is the one where I pondered what the heck the Reflex is really all about.  I know that I did not connect to the song in 1984 because of the lyrics, no matter what I thought they meant.  No, in 1984, it was all about whether or not the chorus was catchy and the video showed cute guys.

Yet, now, when I think about the Duran songs that I have connected with, I think of the ones that captured something in its lyrics that I can relate to.  The first song that comes to my mind about that is Before the Rain.  The verse that spoke to me in 2010 was this one:  Little pin-pricks
And how my ears bleed
On the bomb ticks that is my heartbeat
In every life-flash
In every car crash
I hear the silence waiting to fall

Why did it speak to me?  In December of 2010, I had to say good-bye to a beloved pet, Othello, and then 10 days later, I said good-bye to my grandma, my lone living grandparent.  My heartbeat felt the pain of the silence that follows death and I connected with it deeply.  To me, it spoke of grief.  Is that what the song is about?  I doubt it but there was enough there that made me feel like I was not alone in my grief–that someone else understood.

The same thing is true with Duran’s latest album, Paper Gods.  I remember listening through it a few times before I really tuned into the lyrics.  The song that caught my attention then?  Last Night in the City, believe it or not, the exact opposite of Before the Rain.  The lyrics described exactly what touring means and is like to me.  It is where we get connected, whether that connection is with the band and the fans or with fans to fans.  What is funny is that Rhonda connected with the lyrics around the same time.  I have fond memories of a text message exchange one evening as we traded favorite lyrics back and forth and talked about not only what they could mean but, more importantly, but how and why they spoke to us.  It was at that moment that I knew that I could and would bond with that album.

What about the rest of you?  How much do lyrics matter?  Do the lyrics need to speak to you in order to  love a song?  Likewise, if a song’s lyrics are silly, can you still bond with the tune?

-A

You Catch That Mirror

This weekend marks the release of the latest album by the Killers.  As many of you know, both Rhonda and myself are fans of that band. They aren’t Duran to us, as no other band could ever be.  Yet, we like them and we do pay some attention to what they are up to when we can.  As both a fan of the Killers and a student of music fandom, I have spent a little time in between grading to see how the hardcore Killers fans are responding to the new album as well as changes within the band.  The more I looked at social media, the more I found myself smiling.  Why?  It all felt so familiar as looking at that fan base was like looking at a mirror of Duran’s.

So how are the Killers fans reacting to the new album?  Some absolutely love it.  I have read adjectives like “brilliant,” “genius,” and “amazing.”  Others are complaining.  Some claim that it is not the rock music they come to expect with the band and that the guitars are straight up “missing”.  Still other fans try to be a little less harsh with their disappointment by calling it a “letdown.”  Of course, much of the discussion focuses on the comparison between this new album and the previous ones.  It doesn’t sound like the “classics” say some while others believe that fans shouldn’t compare but evaluate the album by itself.

If I didn’t know that those comments were on a Killers thread, I could have assumed that it was a Duran related thread from any of their album release weekends.  Goodness knows that the most recent albums of Duran have been met with both praise and criticism from fans.  As I read, I understood the passion that those fans are feeling.  The music matters to them.  They all want to love the new album and some do and some don’t.  Maybe, in some cases, the fans who love it are not being critical enough.  In other cases, perhaps, the fans who don’t like it aren’t open-minded enough.  Part of me wanted to respond as someone who feels like I have been through this a bunch.  I wanted to remind everyone that they are all passionate for a reason–because they fell for the Killers at some point.  More than that, I had the urge to point out that this is just one album.  The band has been around for awhile now and things can change.  One disappointment is simply that–one.

Then, of course, the discussion surrounding the band itself comes up as some fans point out that both Mark, the band’s bassist, and Dave, the band’s guitarist, have walked away, at least as far as touring goes.  There is concern that the band won’t be the same without them, which is valid.  Other fans feel like they should support those guys’ decision to walk away, if that is what is best for them.  Again, I feel like Duran fans have been through this.  We know what it is like to have band members walk away as we have been through it a lot.  Does it change the feel of the band?  Sure.  Does it mean that the overall feel of the band changes?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I feel like in the case of Duran, the band is larger than the individual members.  The feel of Duran is stronger than any particular member, which is why the band and its fans were able to survive through the loss of all the Taylors as well as Warren and Andy for a second time.

If I could give any advice to these fans, I would remind them that times change, bands change.  What feels like a huge deal right now might not be a big deal later–it will simply be one chapter in a long history.  I would recommend holding on, even if they are not fans of what is going on with the personnel or the album itself.  I know a lot of Duran fans who walked away when Andy and Roger left in 1985 or left with albums like Big Thing or Liberty and regret it.  I know that I wish that I remained more of an active fan throughout the entire history of the band.  I am also glad that I stayed with the band through a rough Red Carpet Massacre period in which I wasn’t a huge fan of the album and even less of a fan of the division within the fan community.  Lastly, I would urge them to try to find something positive or something to be excited about.  It can make all the difference in both enjoying one’s fandom but also in getting through a rough patch.

I will be watching how things go both for the Killers and their fans from here on out.  Perhaps, watching them can provide a mirror to our fan community that I could learn from as well.

-A

Too Much to Know?

Sometimes, life has a way of sending a bunch of little signs that all add up to one idea.  That is how my week has been leading to this little blog post.  It really started early in the week when Rhonda posted a couple of blogs about both Anna Ross’s new music (which if you haven’t heard by now, you NEED to get on that!) and a new song featuring Dom Brown.  Then, there was some discussions on Twitter about John Taylor’s solo work.  Lastly, there was a moment at Wednesday’s Killers show that really made me think.  While none of these things really seem to go together, they all got me thinking.  Do Duranies really want to embrace all of Duran or just some Duran?  If so, am I guilty of this, too?

I really started to think about this question after a moment in the Killers concert that I would never expect to see at a Duran show.  A few songs in, Brandon, the lead singer, asked the audience if they would prefer to hear an obscure, “b-side”, called “Under the Gun” or a classic hit of theirs, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.”  Shockingly enough, the entire audience wanted the more unknown song.  With any show, I wouldn’t expect the entire audience to be made up of die-hard fans.  I would expect a lot of die-hards but some who are just fans.  For example, I love the Killers but I cannot say that I’m as hardcore about them as I am about that other band.  Nonetheless, I stood in shock by the fans’ voting for the lesser known song.  I’m sure that there are plenty of Duranies reading this blog that thinks, I would definitely vote for the b-side.  Yes, I’m sure that most of the fans reading a fan blog like this would be die-hard.  Would people who are just casual Duran fans?  Would the vast majority of any Duran audience vote for it?

I’m thinking about my experience in San Francisco where I was half way back.  I’m pretty certain that the people around me were fans but not hardcore ones.  They had not seen any of the previous shows on the Paper Gods Tour.  Some of them, it sounded like, had never seen Duran before.  The songs they referenced were all the hits of the 80s.  Based on their reaction to the newer songs, they had not heard Paper Gods.  Those fans?  They would vote “A View to a Kill” over “Khanada,” for example.

Then, I started to think about how even the die-hard fans who read this blog reacted to the blog posts about Anna and Dom.  While those posts got positive reactions, I guess I was expecting more. This led me to think more broadly.  I know that there are Duranies who love, love, love the band but don’t own all their albums.  I know there are many, many fans who are HUGE John Taylor fans but are not super familiar with his solo catalog.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing.  Sometimes, it is takes awhile to get into new music.  I also won’t lie.  None of the songs or projects that I just mentioned sound exactly like Duran.  It could be that many of these fans have listened to some solo and side projects that just don’t like them enough to listen more.  Again, I’m not criticizing or blaming.  After all, I have tried to love all of the solo and side projects but I don’t put Andy Taylor’s solo work on very often or the second album from Power Station.  Does that mean that I don’t love Andy or I don’t love all of Duran?  Of course not.  It just means that his work is different than what I’m used to and that there are parts of Duran that I love more than others.

I think my point, though, goes beyond what’s in a collection or what would be cheered for at a concert.  It is more about what Duranies are actually interested in, generally.  There is a large part of the fan base that really does just love Duran of the early 1980s.  I have now spent years asking various questions or opinions about everything from songs to videos to live performances on this blog.  Way more often than not, Duranies will choose something off of Rio or the 1984 live performance.  Again, I’m not criticizing anyone here.  Heck, I just answered the question about favorite b-side with Secret Oktober like tons of other fans out there, but I do acknowledge that it is a standard answer.  My favorite album is the first one.  It isn’t Rio but Rio is one of my favorites.  I get why this is the case.  Most of us fell in love with a certain band with a certain sound and look.  It is hard to love changes in the same way.

Yet, I wonder if we as a fan base could really benefit from challenging ourselves.  Instead of just playing the Rio album, pop in Medazzaland.  Instead of listening to Arcadia, try a little Neurotic Outsiders.  When you feel like busting out some solo work, try Anna’s new material.  I know that I need to take my own advice with this.  I’m good with John’s solo stuff because he’s my favorite and I genuinely really like but I want to know more of Simon’s, for example.  That means I have to push myself to try something new or something I’m not as familiar with.  Somehow, I don’t think I’ll regret it.

-A

I Know the Score Like the Back of my Hand

If you are good at Duran Duran lyrics, you probably realized that the title of this blog did not come from a Duran lyric.  No, it came from the Killers’ song, “The Man.”  Why in the world would I quote the Killers on a Duran blog?  Simple.  I saw the Killers live on Wednesday in Milwaukee.  I could summarize the show by saying that it was absolutely fabulous but I wouldn’t be me if I did just that.  No, I like to go into some detail.  I’m not going to lie.  I took some notes in my head during the show as I couldn’t help but to compare some to Duran.

Show Length:

The Killers appeared on stage at about 9:05, about 5 minutes after they were supposed to come on stage.  That isn’t much different than what Duran did for the shows in Oakland and San Francisco.  Like Duran, the Killers started with some music as the band entered the stage with bright lights flashing.  Needless to say, excitement increases no matter who is playing!  The Killers went on to play for a little less than 2 hours.  Again, this is similar to Duran’s concert length.  They played about 20 songs which is close to the number of shows played a typical Duran show.  This made me think.  While I hear a lot about band/artists who play for 2 and a half hours or 3 hours, it is starting to feel to me as the exceptions rather than the rules.

Setlist:

Before I went to the show, I took a look at the recent set lists to get an idea of what they have been playing.  I even came up with a playlist to listen to in the car that I figured would closely match the set.  In general, I was pretty close based on what they have recently been playing.  That said, there were some interesting changes.  For example, they opened with “The Man” which is a new song to be included on their upcoming album.  I suspected that they would do that to advertise it.  What surprised me, though, was that the second song was another new song, one that came out like last week, “Run for Cover.”  Both songs went over well.  One fascinating moment was when Brandon, the lead singer, asked the crowd to pick the next song.  He gave two choices.  Choice one was “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” which is a popular song of theirs.  The second choice was a b-side called “Under the Gun.”  The crowd chose the b-side.  You know…if Duran wanted to ask the crowd if they wanted to hear say “Late Bar” vs. “Hungry Like the Wolf,” I would be okay with that.  Beyond that, there were not many shockers to the set.  I was not surprised, in the least, that “Mr. Brightside” finished the night as it acts like Duran’s “Rio.”

Just the Music:

One aspect of the Killers show that I immediately noticed was that they did not have visuals.  They had lights, of course, that they used to enhance the songs but they had no video.  I wonder if that was specific to the small venue that they played at or if that was something purposeful.  While I have seen the Killers before, I cannot remember if there were visuals.

Post Show:

After the show, my friend and I planned to just head home.  After all, we were sweaty and tired from standing on our feet.  (For the record, I’m still very anti-GA.  It is hard for me to see and it is too hot and too uncomfortable.  Give me seats, please, bands.  Please.)  As we sat down in my car, my friend noticed that there was a crowd at the back of the venue.  We decided to take a closer look and noticed that Dave Keuning, the band’s guitarist, was standing outside signing autographs and taking pictures.  We figured we could join the crowd.  Immediately, the student of fandom in me began to observe the scene.  I noticed that the crowd was calm.  People nicely asked for autographs or photos and Dave accommodated.  (Maybe a certain blogger asked for one even!)  That said, as new people showed up, they did not look around to consider if other people who were already there were waiting their turn.  I, for one, thought it was great that Dave was willing to be out there with fans.  That said, he was the only one of the band to do so.  I wish that the whole band was out there and I wish that there was more of an organized line just so that people didn’t feel that they needed to be super assertive to get their turn.

Would this work for Duran?  I don’t know.  I have seen them after shows, behind venues before, but it always feels more crazed.  The members of Duran seem to be in demand in a different way.  Now, in fairness, I don’t know what the crowd would have been like if Brandon Flowers, probably the most popular member, was out there.  Maybe it would have felt more like Duran.  Maybe the Killers fans are more used to having a band member outside with fans.  I don’t know.  I have more questions than answers.

Overall:

I adore the Killers and thought they put on a fabulous show.  Brandon, like Simon, knows how to work the crowd by moving around, asking for audience participation, and sharing stories/thoughts to introduce songs.  Now, I have to decide if I want to get tickets to see them again in January.  They are playing in a venue with a GA floor (ugh!) but seats on the side.  It would be interesting to see how the audience would change in a much bigger venue.  One other thought popped into my head about three songs in.  I adore a quality live show.  Someone at work yesterday asked me how many concerts I have attended in the last five years.  I had to really think and then I shocked the heck out of my colleague with my answer.  I followed it up by saying that I go see quality bands, including the Killers and Duran Duran.

Here is a video clip of Wednesday’s show:

Wonder who is in this picture??:

-A

TV vs Radio: The Era of Fan Conventions

Lately, I’ve seen more posts from friends meeting various celebrities at conventions than I have seen of friends meeting Duran Duran. Not that it’s a problem, I’ve just taken notice.

I thought it was funny a few years back (actually it was probably four years ago now) when Amanda posted that the President of the United States was easier to meet than Duran Duran.  I suppose that for her, that’s probably true, but it’s still kind of weird when you think about it. And yet, she’s met Barack Obama twice. She’s campaigning again, and I’m honestly a bit curious about who she might meet this time!

But, getting back to conventions, I’ve seen pictures from friends meeting everyone from the lead actors in Supernatural to Superman. These conventions aren’t necessarily “new” (I remember conventions for fans of LOST for instance, and I think Trekkie conventions have been around for decades), but they certainly have experienced an upsurge in popularity in the past few years.

I don’t doubt that some people are very interested in discussing canon or the meta involved with a particular TV show.  They go to conventions to listen to the panels in the same way that I adore sitting down with other Duranies and really getting into the nitty-gritty discussion of an album. I also believe access—as in access to the celebrities—must be a driving force behind attendance. Those photo ops sell out quickly, from what I’ve read.

It is also clear why Hollywood, and the TV industry in particular (but not SOLELY TV by any means) encourages participation in these conventions. It is the same reason why shows like Scandal and again, Supernatural, and even Sherlock, encourage their stars to use Twitter or other social media to reach out.  I’ve been followed by some of the celebrities from my favorite shows, and that’s always a thrill.

What truly fascinates me though, is how some of the one-time most ardent Duran Duran fans I knew, have now migrated out of our immediate fandom and into TV show fandom. They use conventions in the same way that I use concerts. They are an escape, a reason to meet up with friends—and by the looks of it, they’re a blast.

The conventions look like a lot of fun, and I think they must be a way to add another dimension to the fandom experience. Getting a photo with a favorite. Hearing the celebrity(ies) of choice speak on a panel. None of that would  work well if fans were getting the vibe that these stars didn’t want to do those things. Whether that’s the acting thing coming into play or it is because these celebrities understand that without public support they’ve got nothing—I do not know, but I find it fascinating all the same.

In music though, it is supremely different. For example, to my knowledge the music industry doesn’t seem to have conventions like this that are open to the public. I mean, one could site NAMM (North America Music Merchants) as being a convention where music celebrities tend to gather or appear—but unless you’re in the biz or know somebody—you’re not getting in.

There are a few other conventions that are truly just festivals in disguise. For example there is an alternative music festival in Los Angeles where tribute bands perform, but it really isn’t a convention in the same sense as say, Comic-con. There are cruises and things, but most bands aren’t willing to be captive for their audience for multiple days at a time….and I can’t blame them.

In much of the music industry, there’s a genuine effort to maintain mystique whether we’re talking Duran Duran or Paul McCartney. They are on the stage, we are off.  That platform they perform on is their pedestal, and nary between the two shall meet. I believe the thinking may be that separation creates demand. Perhaps it does. But I have to wonder why having celebrities reach out in other areas—like movies and television—works so well?  Why is music so different?

I’ve read a lot about fans over the past few years. We can definitely be an overwhelming crowd. Words like “crazy”, “obsessive”, “manic”, and even “sex-starved”, and of course “groupie”, all get applied rather liberally—but those words seem to be spread equally across all fandoms with no consideration for what type of fans we’re talking about.  So is it really all that different to be a fan of the TV show Sherlock, a fan of Robert Downey Jr.,  or a fan of The Killers? Does one have more potential for obsession than the others?

As you might guess, I don’t have the answers.  I don’t know what drives someone away from concerts for their favorite band to instead drop cash to go to a convention like Wizard Con, but I see a lot of fans doing it. I don’t really know if bands or artists like Duran Duran could use similar ideas to cultivate a more loyal following.  I just know what I see—a lot of one time multi-ticket buyers have stopped going to concerts in favor of supporting their favorite TV actors and shows through conventions and other opportunities.  There might just be something to it.

 

-R

 

 

 

Look For the Girl With the Sun In Her Eyes and She’s Gone

They are pretty much dropping like flies at this point, aren’t they?  I have to admit that each morning as I open my laptop, I’m almost nervous to see what the news might be…which idol, legend, favorite, etc, has left us.  January has not been kind to the music lover this year. Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that Glenn Frey, founding member of The Eagles, had passed away. I don’t know how popular The Eagles were in other countries, but for me – they were one of the quintessential California bands of the 1970s. I grew up listening to them on the radio, whether I knew it or not at the time.

At heart, I am a rock and roll girl. While it’s certainly true that Duran Duran has left an indelible mark on my soul and I love 80s New Wave with a passion that continues to burn bright a few decades later, it is also true that I adore a great classic-rock guitar. (is this really a surprise to anyone?)

Some of my friends had parents that listened to The Beatles, whereas my parents were fans of Elvis, in a pretty big way.  My mom likes to say that The Beatles came too late for her in the same way that I say New Kids on the Block were too late for me…so I get it. (Although I am a pretty big fan of The Beatles, oddly) Before I came along, my parents were also big fans of The Beach Boys (hence my name). I don’t know how that fits into the whole “rock” scenario – but we all have our departures. For instance, I love Duran Duran, but can also be known to blast Styx (anything but Mr. Roboto) from time to time. It happens. I make no apologies, but I’m getting away from myself. The point being, I was groomed on rock and roll (and a little bit of the blues, I guess…which is both bizarre…and fitting at the same time.)

When the news came out about Glenn Frey yesterday, I started thinking about all of the songs I knew of his. There are too many to list, yet again – just as I noticed with Bowie – I really didn’t take stock in many of them until after he was gone. It’s the case where I recognize his music, I don’t typically change the radio if they happen to come on, but I also didn’t seek him out, and I didn’t ever stop to think of just how many of his songs I really knew. I think in a lot of ways we take these legends for granted. We don’t ever consider that one day they might not be here, until they’re just not…and this month, well, that’s happening on a near daily basis, isn’t it?

I was in the car this morning, considering what I might write about this morning, and Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners came on the radio. This is one of those songs that I almost never turn off. If it comes on – whether it’s the radio or my iPhone – I don’t skip it or change the station. I love the song. It’s ridiculous, but it always reminds me of school dances in junior high. You’d think that memory alone would be enough to force my hand, but no. They’re good memories, albeit awkward ones. Then I started thinking about other songs that I always allow to play through, and decided to create a list when I got home. I’m going to share mine here – trying to go for at least 25, but we’ll see. The caveat: NO Duran Duran, and they have to be songs that whenever they play – you let it play through. I have a ton of songs that I adore (in fact, most of my favorite songs are this way), but I have to be in the right mood to hear them.

These songs, for the most part, aren’t even favorites (with the exception of the few classical ones I’ve mentioned – those are definite life long favorites of mine). My list could be WAY longer than 25, and I didn’t include nearly as many new wave songs as I would have first thought. I just sat down and just started writing the first ones that came to mind, coming up with 25 in an incredibly short amount of time, and they are in no particular order, and like I said – I could have added so many more. I was surprised. Makes me wonder why I haven’t ever done this before.

I encourage you to do the same and post it!  I wonder how many out of our lists will be from musicians we consider to be legends?

The Wall………………………………………………….Michael Jackson

Mr. Brightside…………………………………………The Killers

Mad World………………………………………………Tears for Fears

Alive and Kicking…………………………………..Simple Minds

Marriage of Figaro………………………………..Mozart

Rhapsody in Blue…………………………………..Gershwin

Tom Sawyer…………………………………………….Rush

Jessie’s Girl……………………………………………..Rick Springfield

Too Much Time on My Hands……………..Styx

In the Mood……………………………………………Glenn Miller

String of Pearls………………………………………Glenn Miller

Hit Me With Your Best Shot………………..Pat Benatar

Should I Stay or Should I Go…………………The Clash

Anyway You Want…………………………………Journey

We Close Our Eyes……………………………….Oingo Boingo

Blasphemous Rumours………………………..Depeche Mode

Been Caught Stealing…………………………..Jane’s Addiction

Eleanor Rigby…………………………………………The Beatles

More Than a Feeling…………………………….Boston

Infected…………………………………………………..Bad Religion

Under Pressure……………………………………..David Bowie/Queen

Rock With You……………………………………….Michael Jackson

Love Will Tear us Apart………………………..Joy Division

To Cut a Long Story Short…………………….Spandau Ballet

Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds……………The Beatles

-R

Bring You Gifts

Any fans of the band, The Killers, here?  As you may know, both Rhonda and myself really love the band.  They are probably the only other band that we would consider going to multiple shows of a tour or traveling to see a show or two.  We, obviously, then follow them on Twitter and the other night, an interesting tweet appeared on our timeline:

Totally free. 21+. Belly Up in SD. Doors at midnight. First come, first served. Be careful in the rain..That’s the gist. Come and get some.

WHAT?!  They did a FREE show in San Diego at a place called Belly Up.  It is a small place.  From what I can tell, it holds about 600 people!  600!  Talk about intimate.  Unfortunately, neither of us were able to attend.  That said, it certainly gave me much to think about.  Why play a show there?  Then?  Of course, I also started to think about Duran Duran.  Would they ever do anything like that?

When I first saw this tweet, I wondered about why a band would do a show that is basically unannounced?  For free?  It did not seem to be about promotion or trying to get attention from the press.  Could it be just to play?  Just do a show?  Maybe, to get back into the swing of playing together as Brandon had spent a lot of last year writing and touring a solo album?  I know that Duran Duran did a little tour called the Secret Caravan Tour in 1988, in which they played super small venues in the US before going out on a big world tour to support Big Thing.  From what I know those “secret” shows were to get them into a tight unit before the big tour.  On the other hand, what if it isn’t about the band at all, but about the fans?

Seriously, how cool would it be to see a tweet about a FREE concert from one’s favorite band on that very night of the tweet?  It would be like an unexpected gift!!!  First of all, who wouldn’t love to go to an unannounced show?  It would be like being part of a secret club.  Then, to be able to go for FREE?!  Clearly, then, the band isn’t playing for the money.  It is about playing and playing for FANS.  Lastly, who wouldn’t love to see a favorite band in a SMALL venue.  I have never seen Duran in a venue THAT small.  It sounds like all the ingredients of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I applaud The Killers for doing something like this!

Therefore, if Duran wants to say…add an unannounced free show on a night…say in between the dates of July 7 and July 14 or between July 27 and August 1, at a really intimate venue, I’m all for it!!  I’m sure that all the fans who could attend would feel really, really special and appreciated.

-A

Duran Duran at iHeart Music Festival

Raise your hands!  Who was up late last night anxiously waiting for our favorite band to appear on stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of the iHeart Music Festival, which, thankfully, was streamed online?!  I was, along with my partner-in-crime, despite or, maybe, because of my better judgment.  I wasn’t feeling all that great and had been up since 4:30 in the morning.  Yet, I figured that it would be a chance to practice for tour and a fun way to spend a Friday night as we hung out online, chatting with other fans through it all!  Oh, yes, we certainly needed to vent, to whine, to complain, to laugh, to talk about many, many of the artists appearing before Duran Duran.  (Seriously, people, can someone please explain Lil Wayne and his appeal?!  I’m not removed from youth culture as I teach in an urban high school but I still don’t get it.  To say that he is a misogynist would be an understatement!)  After what seemed like decades, at times, Duran Duran finally appeared.  If you missed the performance, YouTube can provide:

Want to know what I thought about this performance?!  I assume you do because you are here and still reading!

The Crowd

I truly do feel like crowds/audiences matter.  I have seen shows in which the crowd give Duran Duran a boost as if the audience was sending energy directly to the band.  I have also seen shows in which the crowd lacks excitement, bringing Duran down or making it REALLY hard for them to keep up their enthusiasm.  Then, there are shows like this.  The Killers played right before Duran and I watched in shock at how much they had to really push to get the audience involved and excited for even some of their biggest, most well-known songs like Mr. Brightside.  The audience wasn’t having it.  Was the crowd there to just see Kanye or to see Lil Wayne?  Clearly, if the Killers weren’t their thing, it was going to be super tough for Duran.  People were obviously sitting.  Even when the camera scanned for someone excited, someone who might know the lyrics, it seemed to be a struggle to find any sort of fan or positive energy heading Duran’s way.  It was upsetting for me to watch as I could tell that they were giving it their all.  I wonder how many Duranies actually attended this festival.  I don’t really know anyone who did and I have to wonder if that would have made a difference.

Setlist

Duran kept to a hits based setlist, much like the Killers did, frankly.  Duran played Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Pressure Off, Ordinary World and Rio.  I think it is pretty standard for bands/artists to play big hits when playing a festival.  After all, the crowd is not filled with just Duranies, but with people who might not know Duran or might not know them well.  Therefore, it is safe to play the hits as maybe some people will recognize them, remember how good they are, seek out albums, etc.  Yet, I don’t think that works as well for a festival like this one.  It seemed to me that most of the audience was young–far too young to know any of those hits, including the most recent, Ordinary World.  So, if they don’t know the hits anyway, would Duran have been better to showcase more of their new stuff?  After all, we know it has a very modern sound to it.  Could they have won the audience over somewhat with new songs?  Maybe.  I just know that by the time Pressure Off was played, most of the audience had stopped paying attention, which is really sad because it is very clear that Duran is loving that song and love playing it live.

Simon

By the end of the night, most of the discussion on Twitter began to focus on Simon and concern people have.  He seemed to really strain himself during Ordinary World and people commented about how that seemed to be the case during the Today Show mini-concert, too.  I have heard from other fans that they assume he isn’t feeling well as he was blowing his nose a lot during the show at Terminal 5 (Look for a guest blog on that show soon!).  I obviously don’t know if he is fighting some sort of bug or what, but I do know that I saw a lot of concerned fans last night who are only focused on Simon’s health and well-being.

Positives

So far my commentary has focused on some of the less than thrilling thoughts I have regarding last night’s performance but I don’t want to leave you all with the impression that nothing was good about last night.  On the contrary, there was plenty right with last night.  First, it was a heck of a lot of fun to virtually hang with other fans while watching and I was pleased to see so many fans join us despite the lateness of the hour.  Second, it is ALWAYS good to see a performance of Duran’s.  All it takes is one or two moments to remember why you love them so.  For example, seeing John, Simon and Dom in a row on stage rocking out to Wild Boys always gives me goosebumps.  Seeing the playful exchange between Anna and Simon during Pressure Off only increases my excitement in seeing that one live.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  MOMENT. of JoSi (John and Simon) or DoJo (Dom and John) reminds me.  Speaking of DoJo, was it my imagination or were there tons of DoJo moments?!  It felt like practically every song featured a moment or two!  As Rhonda and I were pointing out last night, those DoJo moments at the Bowl will be “sweet torture”.  We cannot wait!!!  Beyond all of that, the fangirl in me is forced to admit that they also looked pretty dang good last night!!  I might have squeed a time or two when the camera moved to that bass player guy.

Enough about what I thought!  What about the rest of you?  What did you think of their performance?  The crowd?  Anyone actually there in attendance?  If so, I would love to hear your perspective!  All I do know is that it is going to be a long 10 days before I leave for tour!

-A