Let me take you all back to the state of the fandom at that point. The summer of 2007 was one filled with both great anticipation and great anxiety as we were a few months away from the release of Red Carpet Massacre. At this point, we knew that the band had been working with famous producer, Timbaland, and were hearing rumors about Justin Timberlake. Many of us were still reeling over the departure of Andy Taylor. During that time, it seemed that the message boards were filled with much debate over Andy’s leaving and about the collaboration with the Tims (Timbaland and Timberlake). In fact, I would go so far as to say that the fanbase was divided. Some were okay with Andy leaving and some weren’t. Many fans were nervous about the band working with the Tims and others were excited. In my opinion, it wasn’t such a fun time to be a fan. No matter my opinions on these moves and I did have them, I hated that people were split! I hated that we all weren’t as excited as we normally are about a new album! I feared that many people would leave the fandom, either because they disliked the new direction or because of the contentious feeling of the community. I worried that many or most of these people would leave and never return and it was clear to me that the fandom couldn’t afford to lose people. Thus, I had really hoped that this fan show would prove to me and to the rest of the community that all was right with Duran and that we can and get should behind them. Unfortunately, it didn’t.
The fan show, I must admit, was one of the most disappointing moments of my long history of being a Duranie. I expected so much from the show. Yes, I had hoped to hear new material. Yes, I longed to see the band excited and PROUD of their work and where they were as a band. I thought that the fans would notice this excitement and return it ten fold in what would be the best Duran concert ever. As many of you know, either from reading about the show or from being there in person, the exact opposite happened. I saw a band nervous about where they were, musically. They seemed uncomfortable on stage, both when introducing the cd, which for the record, I thought was a bad move, and when playing Nite Runner for the first time. Then, sound problems and Simon’s forgetting of lyrics added to the lackluster show. I will never forget the look of shock and disappointment etched on everyone’s faces that night. Many people responded with anger. Others responded by being hurt. Some stayed in shock for a long time. I remember truly wondering for one of the only times in my life if this marked the beginning of the end for Duran, as I wondered if the whole album was going to be marked with problems and with a lack of enthusiasm. I pondered if those upset fans would be able to work through all of the negative emotions to stay fans.
Yet, we all know that Duran was able to overcome this horrible show and an album that divided the fans. They were able to put on solid performances for the Broadway shows done in November of that year, to promote the album. Many fans enjoyed the shows that they attended during the 2008 tour. While some fans did leave, many stayed. Most stayed or came back. I suspect that they those who stayed, did so because they, knew that Duran could and would be better again and that they could make an album to unite the fanbase and put excitement back in all of our lives. In my opinion, they did just that with All You Need is Now.
This current album of theirs is one that most fans seem to be enjoying. Yes, there still is debate about the quality of music found on there. Sure. We are all still fans and part of that means that we are going to seek meaning through discussions of that nature. Absolutely. Yet, I rarely, if ever, people say really HORRIBLE things about it, which is something I heard about on a daily basis during those RCM days. I don’t feel like there is an even split between those fans who love it and those fans who hate it. I think most fans like the album to varying degrees. There is definitely more harmony in the fan community now (at least on that front). On top of that and, perhaps, more importantly, I saw a band excited and PROUD of their new album. I saw it in their interviews, in their tweets and in their live performances. They no longer seemed uncomfortable like they did on the night of June 17th, 2007. My band had returned and I was proud that I stayed through the not-so-fun RCM era.
Perhaps, this is why the loss of Simon’s voice and the postponement or cancellation of shows is so upsetting to me. They deserved to be able to share this new music with people. They deserved to celebrate an accomplishment. We, as fans, deserved to celebrate and be proud with them. They didn’t deserve this. Simon didn’t deserve this. Now, of course, I’m hoping that they will soon be back up and running to be able to share this gift with the world. Then, we will have even more to celebrate.