Tag Archives: The Reflex

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

I’ve Been a Fan For How Long???!?

Last Sunday, Duran Duran celebrated a little anniversary.  The Reflex  was released 33 years ago that day.  33?!  Rhonda often talks about how she cannot believe that this song or this album was released decades ago and I’m right there with her.  In this case, this anniversary represents my personal anniversary.  I mark it as the date that I became a fan, a Duranie.  33 years ago.  I work with teachers who are younger than that.

Anyway, why does this particular song represent my embrace of Duranie-ness?  Simple.  While I remember liking many of their songs and videos before this one, the Reflex pushed me over the edge into obsession.  I couldn’t get enough.  I had to watch each time that the video played.  In fact, whenever I saw the video I had to call my best friend at the time and vice versa.  At our sleepovers, we were glued to Friday Night Videos and MTV in hopes that it would air.  We saw it so often that we learned all the moves.  In fact, I think I have a picture of my friend doing one of Simon’s classic dance moves.

When I think back to my childhood and doing things like memorizing moves or rewinding videotapes in order to pause when John Taylor turns to the camera, I can’t help but sit shaking my head a bit.  It is not that I think we did anything wrong or that we demonstrated our fandom in an obnoxious way.  It is more like I wish I could go back in time to see how I experienced my fandom then.  I have memories of it and some of them are very vivid, including the ones I shared here.  Part of me wishes that I could go back to that time when that love for Duran was so new and so amazing.

I always think of new fandom as being like that  “honeymoon phase” of a new relationship when you can’t get enough and no wrong is done.  It feels perfect.  As an adult, I now see the imperfections of both the band, the fans and even myself.  That flawless image cannot remain, just like it never does in a relationship either.  No one is perfect and fandom is not either.

The other part of myself wants to give some insight to the young, almost 9 year old me.  I want to warn, almost, the younger version of me about how media and others will criticize Duran Duran.  They will attempt to be the thumbtacks to my fandom balloon.  Perhaps, I would explain how as time goes on, changes happen.  Bands evolve and experience change.  Some of it will sting a bit but that the heart of Duran Duran will continue to beat on for decades.  I would want to ensure my younger self that I’m not wrong for becoming a Duranie.  Some points I might make include about their staying power and about the fabulous songs they wrote and performed after the current Seven and the Ragged Tiger album.

Beyond the band, I might point out where fandom took me personally.  Maybe, I would talk about the states and countries I have visited just to see the band live or about all of the friends I have made as a result.  Then, if my younger self handled all of that, I might share the fact that I have written a daily blog with my best friend about being a Duran fan for years.  Many years.

What do I think my younger self would say to all of this?  I imagine that I wouldn’t be shocked that the band has been around for decades.  I might laugh and say something like, “Of course they will be around!  Duh!”  As far the concert going goes, my 9 year old self would have struggled with that more.  After all, at that point, I hadn’t attended a single concert.  I could imagine that I would have questions and a couple of exclamations!  “Do you dance like the audience did in the Reflex?  Do you sing along?  What is it like to breath the same air as them?  I probably would pass out if I was anywhere near them.  Is John as cute as he looks?”  Then, my older self could blow my younger self’s mind when I tell her/me about how I have pictures of the band, that I have spoken to them and seen them up close.

As far as the blog goes, my younger self definitely would have been confused by that idea.  After all, I would not know anything about the internet for another decade.  Overall, though, I think I would have been in awe.  Jealous.  I would have been excited to grow up and have the experiences I shared.  After this conversation, the adult me, the real me might have remembered the feeling of pure joy and innocence that exists in brand new fandom.  Then, I will think about the love that can and does grow over time.  It isn’t despite the imperfections but because of them.  Fandom isn’t perfect and either is the band.  What it is, though, is mine.  I don’t mean that in a possessive, I’m the only one sort of way.  Just that Duran is a part of me, part of my history and always will be. Maybe, someday, I’ll be writing about my 43rd or 53rd anniversary of being a Duranie.  That might be just as cool as talking to my younger self.

-A

My Seven and the Ragged Tiger Story

Last weekend, I blogged about Duran Duran’s third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, which you can read here.   In that blog, I listed the facts of the album, including who was on it, the singles, the videos and more.  While that certainly provides the Duran Duran history, it does not describe how fans felt about that album.  Thus, I wanted to take time to share my story, my feelings about the album.  Then, I invite all of you to share your stories, too!

In 1983, I turned 8.  I lived in the suburbs of Chicago where I had everything that I could hope for, including a best friend and activities to keep us busy.  When my best friend and I hung out together, we always had the radio on, most specifically B96, the Top 40 radio station.  If we were in the “TV room”, then MTV played in the background.  For some reason, both of us preferred to have something on in the background while we played “store” or whatever else we did for fun.

As all of you know, both radio and MTV frequently played Duran Duran in 1983.  By that point, they embraced songs and videos from the Rio album.  Both my friend and I liked those songs and videos we heard from that album, but they still were more in the background rather than in the foreground for us.  Age mattered.  Duran Duran released Seven at just the right time.  Union of the Snake premiered first.  I enjoyed it but it didn’t grab me.  New Moon on Monday, though, began to really burrow its way into my brain like any good ear worm.  More than the fabulous chorus, I recall watching the video for New Moon on Monday and loving it.  (I still love it.  It is my favorite video, by far.)  I loved the storyline and thought the guys looked great!

Oh, yes, by early 1984, my interest grew to officially liking the band. Discussions between my friend and I surrounded the band for the first time.  We started to spend some of our money on books, magazines and any other merchandise we could find as we debated which guy we liked best.  Initially, I liked all of them with a slight pull to Simon.  I liked his main character role in the New Moon on Monday video.  Yet, I also liked the friendship aspect of John and Nick during that same video.  I was slightly conflicted!

Then, the Reflex premiered and changed everything!  The conflict ended as I fell hard for a certain bass player after watching the video over and over and over!  There was just something about John Taylor during that video that got to me.  Not only that, I loved the song.  Loved it!  My best friend adored it as well.  We were so ridiculous that we called each other on the phone each time that the song came on the radio or appeared on MTV.  We couldn’t get enough and our parents allowed it for some crazy reason.  Clearly, we were officially Duranies from then on!

From that point, our fandom took on big roles for each of us, individually, but also for our friendship.  Instead of playing store or swinging in my backyard, we now watched MTV all the time while we poured over teen magazines, memorizing each and every fact.  Our bedroom walls featured nothing but Duran Duran posters.  We lived and breathed Duran Duran.

So, while many Duranies claim the first album or Rio made them serious fans, for me, it was Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

-A

Seven and the Ragged Tiger Facts and Stats

Last month, I started a little series that examined the albums released during the month of October.  I would like to continue that for the month of November, even if the month is quickly coming to an end.  Duran Duran released three albums during the month of November, including Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Notorious and Red Carpet Massacre.  Each of these albums represent very different time periods in the band’s history.  Today, though, I start with Seven and the Ragged Tiger, an album released on this very date in 1983.

Seven and the Ragged Tiger Facts:
Released on November 20, 1983
Produced by Alex Sadkin, Ian Little and Duran Duran
Had 9 tracks included

3 different songs were released as singles:

  1. “Union of the Snake” (October 1983) #3 UK, #3 US
  2. “New Moon on Monday” (January 1984) #9 UK, #10 US
  3. “The Reflex” (April 1984) #1 UK, #1 US

Personnel:
The band at that time was made up of John, Nick, Roger, Andy and Simon.

Additional musicians:

  • Andy Hamilton – Soprano and tenor saxophone
  • Raphael DeJesus – Percussion
  • Mark Kennedy – Percussion
  • Michelle Cobbs – Additional vocals
  • BJ Nelson – Additional vocals

Videos:

Three videos were made from this album:

Union of the Snake

 

New Moon on Monday

 

The Reflex

 

Interview:

Here is an interview when the band discussed the 30th anniversary!

 

The Tour:

The Sing Blue Silver tour began in Canberra, Australia in November 1983.  After many dates in Australia, the band played a series of shows in the UK before traveling to Japan, Canada, and the U.S.  As most Duranies know, the North American portion of the tour was captured in the Sing Blue Silver Documentary.

 

Beyond all of the facts, Duranies have many, many memories of this album, especially since this album represents the height of Duran mania.  I would love to hear your Seven and the Ragged Tiger story.  When did you buy the album?  What did you think of it?  What do you think of the single choices?  The videos?  Did you see the band play tour?  If so, how many shows did you see?  Next weekend, I’ll share my story!

-A

Concert Review: Montreal Bell Center 4/11

We are overjoyed to have another review to share with you – this time coming from Canada!!  Send your own reviews to our gmail, and we’ll be happy to publish them! – A & R


I was just off the heels of my great California adventure when Duran Duran announced their 2016 North American tour. My credit card had barely recovered and with Christmas quickly approaching, I sat back in utter dismay as the fan community plotted and planned which shows they would attend. Presale day came and went and I felt neither the thrill nor frustration of purchasing my tickets. I’d later learn, that the predominant feeling was frustration, as the Ticketmaster presale didn’t ensure priority for Fan Club members. I could at least sit back and think, “I would have gotten crappy seats, anyway.” Sour grapes. Sad fan indeed.

But, as many of you are well aware, there is a certain magic that threads some of us Duranies together. I got a twitter DM from Janice (she wrote the blog for the Niagara shows), whom I had met briefly in Palm Springs, wondering if I wanted to buy a pair of tickets off her. And even better, she didn’t need the money right away. And as if the Paper Gods had not already smiled in my favor, I would later find a ticket for the Toronto show under my Christmas tree a few days later. From disappointment to fangirl excitement in a matter of weeks!

Before I get into the actual review, there is something else that you need to know about me. I’m a small town girl with a big city attitude. Yeah, I have the attitude, but none of the actual experience to go along with it. My husband currently lives out of province for work, so travelling to this show, meant travelling alone. Also worth mentioning, is that my husband is a native of Montreal. We’ve been there many times over the years, and of course, he drives, knowing the city like the back of his hand. I am always the passenger who watches the scenery pass by. (He’s “The Chauffeur”, perhaps?) So this truly would be an adventure. A Duranie with a terrible sense of direction, driving in downtown Montreal—alone. Amanda once told me, “you do what must be done”, when it comes to all things Duran. This was clearly one of those occasions.

In the weeks leading up to the show, I booked my hotel, chatted with other fans in anticipation, and trained myself how to follow a GPS while driving. (Honestly, I had no idea what 800 m really meant, until a few weeks ago.) I connected with a twitter friend who tipped me off about another show the night before the big event. So, I purchased tickets to see the Dandy Warhols, marvelling at how easy and stress-free that ticket-buying experience was.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and finally, it was time. A week before the show, my 18-year-old son and I drove to a truck-stop not far from our home. Imagine it, in film-noir black and white: It’s just past midnight, in the pouring rain, and an 18-wheeler pulls off the highway. Janice’s husband, who had been travelling most of the night, hopped out of his rig to hand deliver me my tickets. I couldn’t imagine a better scenario in which to begin this adventure!

The night before my trip, I tossed and turned in what was a mixed bag of excitement to see the band again and utter terror of having to negotiate a labyrinthine set of directions to get to my downtown destination. In the dark of the early morning, I began the long, eight-hour drive. But with every pit stop, there was a flurry of twitter chatter as other fans sent me their well-wishes and shared in my excitement. By the time I arrived in Montreal, I was just too tired to even care about being nervous. The Paper Gods smiled upon me again. I arrived at my boutique hotel without incident. I had just enough time to fit in a disco nap and I was off to the first of my shows.

It never ceases to amaze me how well you can get to know someone on twitter. No sooner had I stepped inside the venue for the Dandy Warhol’s, did I hear someone excitedly call out my name. This was my first time meeting Tammy, who also travelled all the way from Newfoundland, yet, it was like we’d known each other for years. Still excited to see Duran Duran, I took in the show, quickly losing myself in the crowd and in the post-punk psychedelic music. I might add a quick mention of the Seratones, the opening act, who completely blew me away. This band should go places!

The next day, of course, was show day! It couldn’t have been a crappier morning—a fresh layer of snow had fallen overnight which by daybreak had turned into freezing drizzle. However, nothing could dampen my spirits. I found my way to a Quebec-style breakfast café and fuelled up for what would become an adrenaline (and alcohol-soaked) day. Even though I was alone, my virtual friends were a constant source of entertainment. By the time my husband arrived in the city, it was time to get my show on the road!

This was my first time at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens. My husband had attended many shows at the old forum, and was curious about the venue as well. Friends who had seen shows there before, mentioned the great acoustics. We arrived on scene and entered La Cage aux Sports, the adjacent sports bar. We ordered drinks and then entered the venue from there. I have to say, that I was quite surprised how organized everything was when we finally passed through security. This is no longer the Sing Blue Silver days!

How many of us have “dragged” our spouses to shows? This was the first time for mine, and judging by the texts he had been sending me in the days leading up to the show, I could tell he was excited as well. As a child of the late 70s and early 80s, I knew he would also be in for a pleasant surprise with Chic. As we made our way into the heart of the venue and to our seats, my husband looked around and remarked how at the old forum there would be a thick haze of smoke hovering just over our heads. Some things do change. I stood in front of my 12th row centre seat and immediately started sending messages on twitter with earnest. One of my high school girlfriends, one of my original Duranies, was at the venue. It’s amazing how easy social media can make finding someone in a packed stadium. Within seconds, we were waving to one another, and arranged a quick meeting. Because of this, I missed out on the opening act, Shamir. In retrospect, his act seemed rather short, and that is all I can say about that.

Having Chic on tour with Duran Duran is such a treat. I boogied to Le Freak, long before I was even aware of Duran Duran. And music-wise, this is about the only thing that my husband and I have in common. (Let’s just say he sported a mullet and head banged to Iron Maiden in the 80s.) Chic’s show never disappoints. From Nile Rodger’s touching speech about his cancer diagnosis to his high-octane medley featuring the artists he’s produced, you can’t not dance! Luckily, some of the girls beside us opted to miss the act (fools!) so we had plenty of room to boogie. I had the pleasure of seeing this show in California, and what differed, was of course, Bowie. Instead of being woven into the medley, Bowie’s Let’s Dance was presented in a place of honour, and Nile’s introduction was as gracious as only he can be.

I admit that I snuck out during the last song to purchase more alcohol. I was more than ready for Duran Duran!

After more excited tweets to other fans, I downed my drink just in time for the house lights to dim. This was it. I have to say, that the song Paper Gods, now sits in the top three of my all-time favorite Duran Duran songs. It’s the perfect opener, the slow, almost dirge-like quality that eventually crescendos into a crashing dance-track. I’ll always be happy to be greeted by the band through the dry-ice mist with this song. One thing I noticed, was that there were some definite improvements to the light show and to the staging. Now the tiers are all synchronized with the light show, which reflects the animations projected on the backdrop. The entire set started like a racing train, building energy and steam with each song, until they slowed things down with Come Undone. (Yes, I see that look, Amanda!)

I was glad for the change in tempo, as I was totally rocking the 12th row. I had a pretty decent view of Simon, Nick, Dom and Roger, though I could catch occasional glimpses of John if I craned my neck just so. However, the frenetic momentum quickly recovered with Last Night in the City. Anna Ross’s vocals are incredible and it never feels that the song is missing Kiesza’s touch. The one interesting thing I did notice, was John playing the synth bass on this song. I don’t think this happened in California? Is this new? (Yes, he played it during Danceophobia, but this one?) No matter, it afforded me an even better view of the bass-god, though I wasn’t about to slow down and admire the scenery (tempting as it was.) It’s always a treat to see What are the Chances—Dom’s playing is positively sublime. Pressure Off, I think marks the top of the roller coaster, and my secret worries were put to rest when my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a pink and white blizzard. The piles of confetti that blanketed the floors and seats provided me with unending amusement as I grabbed it by the fistful and continued to toss it in the air throughout the rest of the show. Yes, I was that annoying fan.

And then the part of the show that I was really looking forward to—the Planet Earth/Space Oddity medley. (Incidentally, the “switch it off!” part could have been stronger on the audience’s part). You could hear it in Simon’s vocals—it was pure heart and soul, honouring both the song and the artist. Space Oddity, also draws attention to Dom’s powerful guitar licks. It was completely unexpected, but boy did he own parts of that song.

If there was an equivalent to a saggy diaper within the set, I’d have to say that it was I Don’t Want Your Love. Maybe it was a combination of it being one of the lesser known songs, and not a particular favorite of mine, but it seemed to suck the energy right out of the room. No matter, and moving right along, it’s back to the fan favorite White Lines, and my husband doing the jazz-hands along with the rest of the audience. If I Don’t Want Your Love was my least favorite, then, I can balance that out with the Sunrise/New Moon medley. What a treat to see New Moon on Monday live!

Shall we discuss Danceophobia, the song that threatens to divide an entire fan community? While it’s not in my top five, it’s certainly not among my most loathed. (In case you are curious, All She Wants Is, might find itself on that list, not that I have to worry about it suddenly appearing on the set list anytime soon.) It’s the complete antithesis to Simon’s more cryptic and obtuse lyrics and I am okay with that. There is nothing wrong with being shallow and superficial every once in a while. In fact, I always get a bit of a chuckle when I hear Lindsay Lohan as the voice of reason during the song. Regardless of Lohan’s merits, it’s such a treat to see live, as I completely adore Jessie Wagner and how she has completely made this performance her own. So, let’s just say, I looked around and forgot the crowd.

My evening was quickly coming to a grinding halt. When introducing Save a Prayer, Simon said some lovely things about music being a force for good, in his story about the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan during that horrible day in Paris last fall. We all lit our cell phones and swayed in a crashing wave of feels. I knew Rio would probably be the last of the set. And even thought I love the visuals from the album projected two stories high, it’s a bittersweet moment. It’s almost over. Nevertheless, I do love how the show ends on such an upbeat and positive note. BUT! Montreal shall never be outdone by Toronto. This is a Canadian fact. No sooner had the band completed their final bows, did the crowd begin to chant in earnest: Reflex! Reflex! Reflex! Now I know there is some debate whether this song should remain in circulation, but hell, if it means one more song out of the band, I’m going to scream it from the top of my lungs. (I’d even scream for an acoustic version of Shotgun, for that matter!) And there is nothing quite like the reverberation of 20,000 chanting people. I hope at the very least, that the band appreciated this little bit of magic from us. I certainly did.

Nick did his very best sound-effects and the show, all too soon, came to an end.

It was over and I was sad. Did I have a good time? No. Not really. I had the best time.

After the magic, comes the driving. Eight more hours of it. There’s not much more to say about that. Except this…

See you in Toronto!

 

Heather Todd Duran starHeather Todd is a Duranie from  New Brunswick, Canada. She saw
her first Duran Duran show (with none other than Amanda and Rhonda) in October 2015.  A self-described weirdo, Heather is a writer, video game enthusiast and beta reader (and wields a mighty red pen!!) for Amanda and Rhonda’s manuscript!!