All You Need is Now sold out Atlanta, GA. Duran Duran delivered an absolutely stunning concert performance.
On the day John Lennon died I realized something about legacies; they are as fluid as the currents in the ocean: moving, shifting and constantly in motion. I had come home from school on that day crying. Devastated, Inconsolable. My phone rang in a consistent string of friends also devastated, looking for solace and if there was none to be found, at least company to share in the misery.
I unplugged the phone, put on Double Fantasy, in those days vinyl, I pulled the arm over to the center so when the needle reached the end of the wax it would lift and move across the album, plopping back down at the beginning of the record with that specific scratchy thud--a sound that I can still hear in my mind's ear to this day. Then I sat down on the floor and cried.
My mother came in later, her face awash with tears, and held out her arms. We just stood there weeping, holding onto one another. She left and soon the sound of "Imagine" was wafting up through the vents.
What I learned on that day about John Lennon's legacy is that, although both of our hearts were broken similarly, we were weeping for two different men. She was weeping for her John Lennon, the Beatle, the man who had been the personification of rock and roll when she was young. I never knew John Lennon the Beatle. I loved the Beatles' music and I understood their profound significance, but I had no emotional connection to their music. I was weeping for my John Lennon: the rebel, the artist, the philosopher; husband of Yoko Ono and stay-at-home dad.
DURAN DURAN - All You Need Is Now World Tour - Live Concert Pictures Slideshow on Examiner.com http://exm.nr/mJqycP
Duran Duran - Concert Review Pictures - Video with Music on Youtube http://youtu.be/fGyJbGKIY9s
It seems an odd thing that such a melancholy memory would pop into my head in the midst of watching what has to be one the best concerts I've ever seen; an absolutely kick-ass, rocking concert. But it wasn't melancholy at all, rather it was quite touching, prompted by the three teenage girls in the seats directly in front of me, probably about 14, maybe 15, hard to tell really, they may have been younger.
I do know that they were not old enough to have driven themselves to the venue because one of the girls kept turning around to smile at me, her arms waving in the air, laughing and singing along, she saw in the smile on my face obviously, a kindred spirit to share in her joy. She was just a baby really. The other two girls were gone--completely--from the moment Simon Le Bon wrapped his album-perfect harmonies around Nick Rhodes' synths and John and Roger Taylor started slamming out the fierce, driving signature "Duran Duran percussion" on the opening beats of the title track for Duran Duran's latest album All You Need is Now. Those three girls only stopped waving and bobbing between songs--and then they would break into screams as the next song started, hugging each other and jumping up and down, "Oh my God! I love this song!"
I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face watching them, remembering when I was one of them, screaming with just the same abandonment--and to the same band. The scene before me was not unique on that day however, the audience for Duran Duran in Atlanta covered a wide range of ages, but veteran Duran Duran fans were definitely out-numbered. Judging by this photo I took of fans wrapped around to the back of the venue and the faces around me during the show, I'd put the ratio at about 25, college age and younger, for every one 80s era Duran Duran fan.
Duran Duran - Play the F_cking Bass John! - Concert Highlight Video on Youtube http://youtu.be/5YX3Q3s0wB8
Watching the girls wave their hands to the beat of the music, looking across the sold-out venue and seeing the sea of waving arms is what prompted my thoughts of my mother and John Lennon. As I had not known my mother's John Lennon, these kids do not know my Duran Duran. They hadn't even been born when Duran Duran mania was at its height. They love Duran Duran's 80s music because it's great music. Timeless. But they love their Duran Duran. They would never refer to them as an 80s New Wave band, to call them that would make no sense.
And they know the band well... well enough to start screaming "Play the f-cking bass John!" before Simon was ready, forcing him to raise an eyebrow at their cheekiness and hold the mic out over their heads before joining in. The "Play the f cking bass John!" chant is now available as a ringtone, by the way. I love that.
Duran Duran - Concert Review Highlight - Notorious - Rio - Live concert performance clip on youtube http://youtu.be/gZgFR8Q8tpc
It was a beautiful thing to share this concert experience with the next generation of Duran Duran fans, to share in their new-found bliss. An honor really, to be able to see this band whose music is so much a part of the soundtrack of my own life through their eyes. For them there is no past. No history. They know as much about the craziness of the Duran Duran fame machine as I know of Beatlemania. Pictures really, scenes captured on film, but what that kind of pressure-cooker does to a band internally, when the "band" itself becomes an entity so powerful, so huge, that it can no longer be controlled by the members. Well, that can't be captured in photos.
When the pressure gets too overwhelming some may choose to escape physically, unable to cope with the chaos. Others may try to escape creatively, perhaps not conscious that they are doing so, but it is reflected in the music--it moves so far from where it began, so quickly. Most bands implode. The vagaries of fame, impossible expectations, softly spoken criticisms that can drown out the roar of thousands of fans: they're like mental Maenads, ripping and tearing at the creative connection until they can no longer hear one another. And then a member leaves... the slamming of the door sounds eerily like a death knell.
It's certainly a testament to the character of Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon, that Duran Duran is still here and more musically profound than ever. They just headlined Ultra Music Festival -> http://exm.nr/eC144L for God's sake. Something like 100,000 people from all over the world descended on Florida to watch Duran Duran perform the show I just reviewed. That's the kind of power Duran Duran is packing outside of our hallowed borders. When I think of what it took for these two men to get Duran Duran to this point I'm reminded of Whitman's "Noiseless Patient Spider," O my soul, the bridge is form'd, the ductile anchor holds, O my soul...
Read more in National Music History Examiner: Concert Review: Duran Duran - All You Need is Now tour - National Music History http://exm.nr/jgaWu9
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** Janis Joplin had been clean for six months when she died of a heroin overdose in 1970. What went wrong? Janis Joplin: Her Final Hours - National Music History | Examiner.com
** A sad reminder of The Who's prescient lyrics: "If I swallow anything evil, Put your finger down my throat." Keith Moon: His final hours - National Music History | Examiner.com
** The questions are as old as punk rock: Did Sid kill Nancy? Did Sid kill Sid? Sid Vicious: His Final Hours - National Music History | Examiner.com