Yeah, I’m a Durannie.
Much like “Trekkie”, “Durannie” is the somewhat derisive term assigned to the fans of the quintessential 80’s band Duran Duran. Unlike “Trekkie”, however, we don’t get a bug up our collective asses and insist on being called something even dippier like “Duranners” in a desperate effort to save our remaining self-esteem.
Anyhow, I’ve been a fan for a LONG time. Technically, “Rio” is the second album I’ve ever owned, but it was the first one I actually cared about enough to take proper care of it. (The first was Queen’s “The Game”, which I was foolish enough to leave within grasp of the exploring hands of my well-he-would-have-been-about-three-year-old younger brother. Little kids LOVE pulling the tape out of cassettes. You see where that went. To his credit, he replaced it for me as a birthday gift over a decade later.)
Best? Song? Ever? “The Reflex.” I literally hunted down the 45RPM single for that song for YEARS, because, as all Durannies know, the version on “Seven And The Ragged Tiger” sucks rocks. (The 45 is the version you hear on the radio and MTV. When MTV plays videos. Which isn’t often anymore.) I finally found it in a Musicland in Salinas, California, my first exposure to the glory that is the Sam Goody chain. Had I known at the time how much money I would hand over to that company in the fifteen-plus years to follow (they own Best Buy, you know), I’d have framed the receipt.
Anyhow, one of my more disappointing purchases was their “Arena” album. Mind you, I was still such a fan that it furthered my quest in owning anything Duran, but the main reason I had it was for “The Wild Boys”, the studio single. The live stuff was…well, kinda poor.
I remember Live Aid, July 13, 1985. I watched ALL DAY for Duran Duran’s set in Philadelphia. And finally, around 5:30P Pacific time, they came out….and they weren’t that good. By all evidence, I was forced to conclude that Duran Duran was a crappy live band.
And as a result, despite several opportunities, I have avoided seeing them in concert. (To wit, over the same time period, I’ve seen Def Leppard four times.) Until a week and a half ago.
See, after the Live Aid show, the band effectively broke up and started pursuing other projects – Andy and John Taylor did the Power Station thing, and Nick, Simon, and Roger did their Arcadia project. Then Roger left, and John reformed Duran Duran with Nick and Simon, but it was never the same from that point.
But in 2001, rumblings of a reunion started cropping up..and were confirmed. Then they started playing shows again, and then they went back into the studio and recorded their current album, “Astronaut”, which they released in 2004. The REAL Fab Five (FUCK those Queer Eye guys. In a figurative way, of course) was together again.
And, in touring to support that album, they came through Everett a week and a half ago. And in celebration of their reforming, I lifted my self-imposed boycott on live Duran concerts and paid a truly disgusting amount of money to take myself and a friend (and fellow fan) visiting from out of town.
Worth. Every. Penny.
The Arena album should be taken off of the market, and their performance stricken from the Live Aid DVD set, as unrepresentative of their work. It is my hope that anyone else who has formed the misguided opinion that Duran Duran is a poor live band read this post and decide to give ’em a shot when they come through your town, because I promise you they will not disappoint. They were simply AMAZING, especially Andy’s guitars and Roger’s drums, which I found particularly interesting because Duran Duran has always been known for their synthesizer sounds, and Roger in particular always seemed to be along for the ride.
And while they were there to support “Astronaut” (they played no less than five tracks from the new album, which made me get my copy out in the last few days to give it a second listen, and I’m glad I did), they know where their bread is buttered, and they played most of the oldies, too.
Not including, alas, “The Reflex”. Which is OK, I hear that sucks live….