With or Without Nick Rhodes, It’s Still a Duran Duran Summer!
Back in February of this year (2016), I decided that this was going to be the year for me to see Duran Duran more than once during their Paper Gods tour. During past tours, I had only seen them once; the Seven and the Ragged Tiger (St. Louis, 1984), Pop Trash (St. Louis, 2000), Red Carpet Massacre (Chicago, 2008), and All You Need is Now (Cleveland, 2011) tours. The Astronaut/Reunion tour I did see them twice only because I won tickets from a radio station call in contest (Chicago and St. Louis, 2005).
Presale for the Paper Gods tour was back in December 2015 for most all of the dates. I was unable to purchase anything until February. And then, I bought tickets! I bought a 2-ticket package for Austin, TX on April 22nd. My cousin lives there, and so it was a twofer…I got to see my cousin that I hadn’t seen since 1997 (we think, to the best of both our memories), AND see Duran Duran from the front row with my cousin! Since the last tour in 2011, I have made it a point to see Duran Duran somewhere near Cincinnati so I could visit my aunt and cousins. Nashville was still TBA so I waited…and waited…then nabbed VIP tickets during the first few moments of the presale date! Second row center on July 6th. Yes, I think I could handle that! I am a proud, card-carrying member of the Duran Duran Fan Club, and I enjoy the perks!
As I flew into Austin, I looked out my window and saw a race track and amphitheater. Something clicked in my head, and I realized I was going to be there the next night! Of course I snapped some pictures! The show the next night was amazing! It was my first time in the front row and it was truly an experience! Chic with Nile Rodgers was a dance party from note one. After that set, while waiting for Duran Duran to come on, I actually met Nile! He is truly a humble, very sweet man. Duran Duran dedicated the show that night to Prince, who had passed away the day before. My guys killed it that night! I heard old songs, new songs, and songs I had never heard live before (i.e. “I Don’t Want Your Love,” “White Lines,” “Too Much Information”) as well as “New Moon on Monday,” a song I haven’t heard live since the 7ATRT tour back in 1984. Yes, I hardly had a voice for the following week, but SO worth it! My cousin, aunt and a second cousin showed me around the city of Austin the next day, and it truly is not like the rest of Texas!. Beautiful city!
Nashville was memorable in its own way. My only issue with Nashville is that it is very country music driven and that really isn’t my thing. I got there the day before the show and met up with two Duranies. We walked around, ate and did some touristy things. The following day, I had a blast going through Cooter’s, the Dukes of Hazzard Museum! For $5, I got pictures taken of me sitting inside the real General Lee. Now that was something I couldn’t pass up! The weather was terribly humid that day, and after walking around downtown for a bit, I just had to return to my hotel room to cool off and shower before the concert. Thankfully, I could park at the Nissan Stadium across the Cumberland River (where the Tennessee Titans play) for $5 because you could for an event at Ascend Amphitheater. The storm was rolling in quick, and I still had to make it across the pedestrian bridge to downtown then to the Hard Rock Cafe. Didn’t make it. I had an umbrella and a rain jacket, so I was only slightly damp upon arrival. I met two Duranies at the bar then more started arriving so we moved to some tables and continued to eat, drink and be merry! The show was supposed to start at 7pm, but when we got there about 6:35, there was a huge, long line. This particular amphitheater has an open back to the stage so when the storm blew threw, they had to move all of the intruments and equipment off the stage. After the storm, they had to move everything back onto the stage, set it up and sound check it again. Once inside, after confiscating everyone’s umbrellas, I found that I was sitting next to one of the girls I’d met at the Hard Rock Cafe so that was really cool! The show started late. Chic, once again, set the tone for the night, and Duran Duran did not disappoint! The set list changed slightly, taking off “Too Much Information” and “Dancephobia” and adding “The Reflex” back to the list, which was definitely a crowd favorite! The encore was only one song. Disappointed that there was no confetti during “Pressure Off.” In hindsight, the wet ground and confetti would have made a horrible mix to try and clean up. Because they got a late start, I’m sure they decided before they went on for the encore to leave off “Save a Prayer.”
It was a different point of view for me sitting center stage from my usual right or “Nick” side. I was more head-on so the pictures I took of Simon, John and Dom were better than Nick and Roger. I think I’ll go back to Nick’s side.
After the show that night, I scored one of my now most prized possessions. I stood at the railing hoping to get at least Dom’s set list, but a security guy already grabbed it for someone else. I waited patiently and watched in fascination as the crew broke everything down so quickly. I saw one guy take Nick’s set list from the keyboard area and start to fold it up as to throw it away. I yelled (with all the voice I could muster up because I was very hoarse), “Set list, please!” He looked at me, smiled, walked to the edge of the stage and tossed it to me. I unfolded it, in complete heaven as my eyes fell upon Nick’s set list. This was a true OMG moment!
Speaking of which, the next night, the announcement came that Nick Rhodes would be leaving the tour temporarily. He was returning to London to take care of “urgent family matter,” and leaving his long time friend and collaborator MNDR to take his place. This set off a huge spark in the Duran Duran community. The majority of people said they would still go to the shows even though Nick wouldn’t be onstage. There were a few people that cried “NO FAIR!” and vowed not to go. His reasons for leaving have been very hush-hush. It is obviously his business, and urgent enough that he return to London could not be put off. On top of it all, his band mates supported his decision. My opinion is that Nick cared enough to not cancel the shows and let the fans be out a ton of money on tickets, hotels, transportation, etc. He trusted his friend enough to ask her to take his place…and she was honored to do it! They have dedicated “Save a Prayer” to Nick every night he has been absent thus far. Nick will return when he can because even he said he hates disappointing the fans. I mean, it happened the several times when Andy Taylor left. We were introduced Warren Cuccurullo who became a member of Duran Duran then to Dom Brown, who is now their current guitarist, albeit not an “official” member. Roger Taylor was replaced when he left by several drummers. The same with bassist John Taylor. Now it’s Nick’s turn. This is temporary and he is returning soon. He started this band and is the only member that has remained since Duran Duran’s conception. Nick is not walking away from his baby. I, like most fans, am behind him, supporting MNDR, and saying prayers for Nick for whatever his emergency is.