I swore I wouldn’t talk about the set list again…but then I did. As I’m asking myself “When will you EVER learn, Rhonda”, I figure I may as well write about it.
This past weekend, I saw a post on Facebook regarding the band’s set list. I read through the comments because, well, of course I did. A question came up about whether or not the band plays a lot of their B-sides. Not deep album cuts, not bonus tracks, but B-sides. I felt like I could answer the question without getting myself into a huge discussion or trouble.
I responded by saying that as a rule, they really stick to the songs most people know. Not a controversial statement by any means, and I know well enough to stay away from the emotional side of that. How I may have felt about whether or not they played Late Bar or Secret Oktober, for instance, was immaterial to that conversation. Best to stay matter of fact and move on. I answered pretty offhandedly, without a lot of flowery words, and moved on to the rest of my day.
Later that night, I picked up my phone again, only to see that more comments had in fact been made. The conversation went from discussing the actual set list, to a sideways chat about who should be blamed (meaning band member). There was a time when I might have joined in, joking along. The KEY word in that sentence is “joking”, but even back then, some people would take us seriously.
Nowadays? Oh hell no, I’m not looking for that kind of fight, because when I say something, it’s seen and broadcasted as Daily Duranie is saying something. I get it, and I’m not even going to step one little toe into all of that. The last thing I need, is to have the word get out that Rhonda from Daily Duranie is blaming Roger (purely for example and no, I don’t blame anyone!) for the set list. Ah, no. No I am not. Have fun fellow Duranies, and I’ll see myself out.
I did eventually go back and clarify my comment because I am a sucker for punishment and couldn’t just let it go. As I said last night, the band has a fantastic problem. They have a large catalog of great songs to choose from, and there’s no way to please everyone. They also continue to attract an audience of NOT just die-hard fans, but a wide variety of people. Many of those only know Duran’s hits, and while that might bother some – the band would be foolish to ignore that there are people in that audience that only know songs like “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”. It’s just not all that simple. I think it’s pretty obvious I’d go to the shows no matter whether they play the same set list ten times, or they switch it up.
I’ve been to shows where the band left of “The Reflex”, for example. I would go home feeling great about the gig, and there would be people on Facebook complaining about how their favorite song was left out. People would say they’d never been to a show before and that their only wish was to hear that song, and since it wasn’t played the entire concert was ruined for them. I don’t know if the band ever reads or hears about that kind of thing, but it would send me straight over the edge if I were them. I’d get to the point where I’d probably play all of the hits, fearing more comments like that if I didn’t. Particular so, if I were the least bit sensitive.
Huh. Maybe there is something to that set list thing, after all.
And, while I’m at it – they’re not the only band to stick to the same set for an entire tour or more. I saw Chic when they played on the bill with DD quite a bit during the Paper Gods tour. Every night, they played the same set list, right down to Nile’s speech about getting cancer. I was amazed that every single night, Nile was able to keep up the energy and excitement, even when he spoke – because it was the same show. Yet I danced and felt energized. Every single night, without fail, I’d tell Amanda that I wasn’t going to dance (out of being tired), and yet there I’d go, up and at ’em before the first song was even over. Those shows were among some of the best I’ve ever seen, too.
On the same token, I’ve been to shows where a band has decided to showcase their deepest cuts, songs that only the most ardent of fans would know – and I’ve been bored stiff. I saw The Cure many years ago, and they didn’t play a single hit. I left early out of boredom, and I’m not sorry. I’m not a huge fan of The Cure, and while I appreciated that they wanted to play for their fans, this was at a festival. Judging by the amount of people who were leaving with me, I wasn’t alone in my boredom.
Actually, Duran Duran had gone on right before The Cure that night, and they played songs everyone knew. I was way the hell back on the lawn, and even back there, the crowd was wild, dancing away throughout their set. So, I can’t really find the words to complain when Duran Duran decides to play what people know.
No, the band is never going to get it perfect for every single person. I know plenty of fans who stopped going to shows during the Paper Gods tour because as they put it, “The shows are all the same and I’m not going to pay $400 or more to see the band play the same set over and over again.” I can’t argue with them either. They certainly have a point. Maybe Duran Duran isn’t expecting their fans to go to ten or fifteen shows on every tour. I would venture to guess most people don’t. Those that do, well, we should expect to hear the same basic set list at least most of the time and not complain.
The band really can’t win, though. It took me a while to see that and really get it. After all, I complained about the set list for many years – something that I can’t pretend didn’t happen. That said, I can’t keep finding fault with a band who is trying to entertain their audience as best they can. Sure, I’d love to hear a B-side or bonus track thrown in for good measure, and every now and then, it HAS happened. As a rule, the band does stick to the songs most people know or have at least heard before. But every now and then, they shock the heck out of me and play something I never thought I’d hear. I’m not going to complain about those moments.
This is why I’m not going to keep writing about the set list. I’m not going to complain about specific songs anymore, either. Sure, Nick might peer down from his “Great Keyboard Rig on the Stage” and watch my reaction during the first few notes of “Hungry Like the Wolf”, but I don’t need to write about that.
All any of you need to know is that yes, even after fifty shows, I’m still going back for more. It obviously doesn’t matter what they play, I’m still on board, and I still love it every single time.
If that’s not an endorsement to convince others to go see a band, I don’t know what is.