Classic Dishes...

There _Is_ Something You Should Know

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….

3 comments to There _Is_ Something You Should Know

  • Nick Warren

    Hey Fred. I saw them a few weeks ago at the HP Pavillion and had been meaning to drop you a line about it.

    I found myself damn near dreading the actual day of the show. I knew I had to see them with the original line-up, and considering I had been a fan since I was seven I knew I owed it to them and myself to see them play, but I was rather worried about their reputation as a poor live band, and the fact that the boys are getting on in years and Simon’s voice isn’t quite the same.

    That, and something I read in an interview with Simon Le Bon on the reforming of the old line up, which was something to the effect of how they were going forward and finding their new sound and weren’t just going to play Hungry Like the Wolf over and over again for the rest of their lives. Sounded to me like htey were abandoning their heritage…

    Well, what’s the first song they played? Sunrise. But what was the second? Hungry Like the Wolf.

    I was enthralled. Simon was nearly flawless, aside from a slight flub in Astronaut, which at least served to remind me that it was a real human being up there and not a tape deck. I even found myself enjoying the songs they played that I never considered part of the true Duran Duran canon (I Don’t Want Your Love and White Lines, for instance). But it was about the classics, the big three albums – at least half the set list was dedicated to their best. Simon even dressed in costume for The Chauffer – a song that meant a lot to my guest and myself, and I didn’t believe they’d even play it.

    There were still a few classics that I wish they had worked in (New Moon on Monday, View to a Kill, New Religion, My Own Way) but I can’t complain.

    I had gone in wondering if Simon’s voice was truly higher now, or if that’s just how they were wriiting his new material. I didn’t bring any Duran Duran to listen to on the way up or back but I did hear someone driving out of the parking lot after the show playing “Union of the Snake” and he definately sung it a lot higher during the show.

    Something about seeing a show in a large(ish) venue for the first time must have gone to my head, I managed to drop nearly $200 on top of the tickets without hesitating. The biggest venue I’d ever been to was the Fillmore in SF, which, for all it’s history and reputation is little more than a dark high school gymnasium with nice chandeliers.

    Well, Fred, they did play The Reflex at my stop, and played it in the style of the single version (right down to the sample repeated “Whyyyy W- W- Whyyyy” bit that he actually sang that way rather than using a sampler). Too tell you the truth I actually prefer the album version, probably because I listened to it that way probably hundreds of times before I ever heard the single and thought what they added to the single was just pointless fluff. But they hit it perfectly. Well, maybe you’ll get to see it next time, I know I’d go see them again.

  • Yeah, after doing some research, I discovered that the playlist is changing very little from night to night, and the big difference is that they are doing “The Reflex” in some cities, and “Is There Something I Should Know?” in others. And I happened to get ITSISK? in Everett. Which is fine, I was hoping they would play that too. At first I thought the abscence of Reflex was glaring, but then as we were heading home I went over the rest of the catalogue and plucked out the rest of the big songs they didn’t play (the ones you cite, along with Electric Barbarella, Serious (okay, not that big, but they released it), Skin Trade, and maybe Too Much Information), and I realize it would have filled another half-hour, and they played a solid two. So I totally can’t complain. Hopefully they’ll come by again on another leg, and I’ll get Reflex then. No question would I go back.

    (And I dropped $45 on the tourbook. Overpriced, sure, but the little toys that came with it were neat, it had a small manga of the Careless Memories anime, and it made for a nice place to store my concert stub and the setlist that I dolled up in Word and printed out. How often do you see Duran Duran, anyhow? :))

  • Nick Warren/

    LEt’s see, I spent…

    $15 on parking
    $45 on the tourbook
    $28 for two drinks (cranberry and grey goose — big cups, but still…. dang)
    $35 for a shirt (kind of a lot for one color but what the hell … it’s the only shirt I have that I wash by hand)
    $12 for the mouse pad
    $8 for a set of buttons
    $12 for a keychain for my sister (who introduced me to Duran Duran in 1985 – it’s the least I could do)
    $25 food
    Actually only $176, plus about $96 for tickets, not as much as I thought, but much more than I’ve ever spent on a concert before.

    I still haven’t flipped through the tourbook, it’s currently living at the g/f’s place, but I will gladly pay market price for any DVD with the Careless Memories animation on it – that was #!#!@ing hilarious.

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