Tag Archives: Wendy Laister

Now We’re Online: When DD.com Was Hacked

In 2017, websites are commonplace. Most of us are on the web and surf our way through hundreds of sites each day, even if we’re not thinking about it. It would be unthinkable to run a company and not have a web presence. Sites act as advertising, storefronts, social gathering spots, newspapers, informational brochures, and even corner speakers. Duran Duran has operated their website for years now.  Amanda and I have come to rely on it for a variety of purposes. We are typically able to find what we need, and it’s always up and running.

There was a period of time back in the late 90s when this wasn’t exactly the case. First, I’ll set the scene: it’s 1999. Medazzaland had been released in 1997, the band was touring and playing smaller clubs on the Let It Flow tour. Pop Trash wasn’t released until 2000.  Earlier in August, Duran Duran had signed a 3-album deal with Hollywood Records.  John Taylor was no longer with the band, instead playing dates in small clubs like the Viper Room in Hollywood, California with Terroristen. Sugartown was being released and John had been doing the typical press tour junket to promote the film. During the 90s, there were times when the band were even self-managed, as Wendy Laister and Magus Entertainment did not come aboard until 2001. Before anyone asks, yes – Katy Krassner was working with the band by this time. I don’t know if she was directly involved with their website in the same sense as she is now.  Very different days.

Months might go by without a single update made to the band’s site, even if there was a new album coming out, or upcoming tour dates—news items that would have definitely been of interest to fans, and might even help the band if they were announced. It became something of a side joke to long time fans, and not a “ha ha” funny joke, but one of those snide comments you might make to one another in jest. During this specific period, possibly while the band was self-managed, between labels (until August when they signed with Hollywood Records), it had been several months since the website had been touched at all. Security for the site was lax, to say the least. Picture the place as a ghost town with a message board of fans continually writing posts asking why the site wasn’t being updated, and you might have a fairly accurate scene. Despite the outcry from some fans even asking if they could help out and update the site themselves, there seemed to be some sort of gaping hole between the band and fans, until one fateful day in September of 1999 when one fan—Redsexy on dd.com—hacked the website herself and updated it.

Had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long it might have been before the website would have been updated. Self-managing isn’t an easy thing. Just imagine – on top of writing the music, you’re managing everything else. Promotion, image, contracts, touring, people who work for you, all of the large and small details. All of it.

Today’s websites aren’t so horrible. If you use something like WordPress (as I do), it’s fairly simple – but there is still a lot I don’t know how to do, and there’s not much time for me to learn.  Imagine Simon, Nick, or Warren trying to wrangle a  website back in the 90s, without the ease of WordPress or other site management companies, much less having the time to sit down and update the news or tour dates! Impossible.

So on this date in 1999, Redsexy took matters into her own hands, and we thank her for it. I’m not sure how the band felt, but I admired your spirit.

-R

 

Falling for Paper Gods in (Where else?) Niagara Falls!

As always – we welcome and encourage show reviews of any kind from our readers! This review of the Niagara Falls shows was sent to us courtesy of one of our Canadian friends, enjoy!! 


Last weekend I attended both shows in Niagara Falls. Originally I was only going to see the second show on Saturday night. Since we would already be there on Friday,  I would see if I could get tickets for that show as well. I had been watching a couple of tickets through a private seller the week before the show. He lowered his ticket price, so I ended up getting some great seats – second row to the left – and we all know who owns that area of the stage!

Where to begin? It was quite an amazing whirlwind of a weekend! We stayed at the Fallsview Casino Hotel, which doubled as the show venue. Our room was on the 35th floor.  As we went up to our room, we noticed a gentlemen knocking on the door two rooms down from ours. Who opens the door? Simon!!  I was on the same floor as the band! I couldn’t believe my luck! I didn’t say anything to him, as we  went into our room.  Once the door was securely shut,  I began to dance around like a 13-year-old girl. My husband found me quite amusing!

We went downstairs around 8pm as the show started at 9. I met one of my Facebook friends who was there from Colorado and we hung around for a bit before the show. It was great to finally meet her in person! The show started shortly after 9pm, and the band opened with Paper Gods. That was the perfect opener for the show. The background effects and lighting were just wonderful. The guys looked great and Simon’s voice sounded wonderful.

They played the usual classics along with a few songs from Paper Gods. They added a special homage to David Bowie by playing Space Oddity  in with Planet Earth.  It was so beautiful and moving! They had a picture of David on the big screen. Most of us there were also Bowie fans so I saw a lot of teary eyed people.

The show was short, which was disappointing. Apparently there was a time limit so were not able to play as much material as usual.
“Save A Prayer” was done during the encore, and Simon took a few moments to talk about the Paris attacks and the Eagles of Death Metal, who had been playing onstage at the Bataclan at the time of the attacks. Rio was also a part of the encore. As they were ready to leave the stage everyone started chanting “Reflex Reflex Reflex” So they stayed and granted us our wish!  (The video for The Reflex was filmed at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, so Canadians obviously feel a special connection to the song. – R) I didn’t see any disappointed faces in the crowd. Everyone had a smile on their face as they were leaving.

My husband is not a DD fan and he even appreciated the show. This is his second time seeing them with me, and he seeing another DD show in Montreal with me on April 11th, so I think I am slowing turning him into a fan!

We waited awhile before we went upstairs to our room. When we finally went up guess who was going into his room? Simon! I didn’t say anything to him as he looked really tired, and I wanted to respect his space. A few minutes later, I decided I wanted to get something to drink so I went to the vending machine down the hall. When I came back who did I see? Nick! He was almost standing in front of our door with their manager Wendy. His room was in front of ours. I spoke to him for a minute and asked him if he would autograph my Paper Gods book and also got a picture with him. He was so nice!

Nick and Janice

The next morning we decided to go downstairs and shop in the mall part of the hotel. We were walking around and I see Simon and Wendy walking toward us. I went up to Simon, said hi, and told him that I have been a fan since ’83 and shook his hand. I asked if I could get a picture with him. He responds by asking, “Aren’t you the girl down the hall from me?” I was thrilled! He picked out a spot with good lighting and my hubby took a few pictures. He had just come in from seeing the falls and his hands were cold. He was rubbing my arm! It was such a thrill to meet him. I think I played it cool when I met him, but when we walked away I was overcome with emotion. I’m thankful my husband was there with me.

Simon and Janice

Saturday was such a wonderful day. It was great finally meeting some of my FB friends that are also DD fans, and I even made some brand new friends. We all had such a great time. At the Saturday night show I went solo and sat in left balcony. Once again it was excellent. If I were a millionaire I would go to every one of their shows in every city.

This was a very special weekend that I will always remember. I never thought in a million years that I would meet Simon and Nick or end up as hotel neighbours with them!

If you have never seen DD I suggest you see them. They do not disappoint. They are better than ever!


Janice has been a Duranie since 1983 and is from a small town north of Montreal in Canada where she lives with her wonderfully patient (and potential DD convert!) husband.  She is excited for the upcoming show in Montreal this weekend, and says she will always love Duran Duran!