Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quick thoughts on tonight's cancelled Duran Duran AC show

Tonight's Duran Duran concert in Atlantic City was cancelled. The band posted this update on its website.

If you're a fan who had planned on going to the show tonight, there's no way to put a positive spin on it. It sucks. And Duran Duran fans are a hearty lot... I'm sure there were hundreds of fans who travelled from all over to see what was supposed to be the final show (correction: one of the last shows. There are still shows scheduled for next week) of the "All You Need is Now" tour. When you're a fan who was looking forward to a show, there's not much you can do to be consoled. You can be annoyed, you can be upset, you can feel bad for the band. And in this case, you can feel bad for Nick Rhodes, whose exhaustion was the catalyst for canceling the show. You can express some or all of the above. It's easy to be angry at the band, but before you do that, step back and think about it: after everything Duran Duran's done the past two years, there's no way in hell they wanted to cancel the show.

Listen, I've been there. I've been the victim of two cancelled Duran Duran shows. The first was in 1993, when they were scheduled to play in Delaware, less than a mile from where I lived at the time. I could have walked to the concert (this was a big deal for me at the time). Weeks earlier, Simon experienced some vocal chord problems and had to cancel several dates. Heartbroken? Yes. Angry? Absolutely. Anger passed...again, I realized that they wouldn't have cancelled unless absolutely necessary.

The second time it happened to me in 2004. I was living in Singapore and me and my partner in Duran Duran crime, Mazlee, were going to fly to Tokyo to see the band's second series of concerts there to support their reunion tour. As we were getting to the airport, we found out that Roger Taylor broke his foot, resulting in a cancellation of that show. Those same emotions came back. This time I even thought, "Well they went about 15 years without Roger on drums, couldn't they have rounded up a replacement quickly?". But then I stepped back and realized that if the band did that, the show would have suffered.

Me and Mazlee in front of the world famous Budokan in Tokyo in 2003, gearing up for the Reunion Tour.

Cancellations happen. It's part of being a music fan. At least Duran Duran don't approach concerts like Guns n' Roses: they plan great tours, they show up on time and they give the crowds their money's worth. If you want to read a great summary/review of Duran Duran's current tour, please read this article at the excellent Daily Duranie, written by @DailyDuranie.

Based on two personal Duran Duran concert cancellations (near and far) and tonight's cancelled show, here are eight things I've learned:

  • Just as Duran Duran fans are made of pretty sturdy stock, so is the band. Nick will recover from this and be appearing in a town near you fairly soon.
  • The band's recent embracing of social media has made cancellations so much easier. The band moved quickly to post the cancellation on their website and John Taylor went to Twitter to apologize and update fans. All class, all around.
  • It's a tiny conciliation, but if you missed the show, there's always the recently-issued A Diamond in the Mind video, which has been steeply discounted on iTunes, as far as I can tell. 
  • It could have been much worse...the Atlantic City show was the last show of the tour. If Nick's exhaustion had occurred earlier, it would have been more than one show cancelled.
  • If you travel to a show that's cancelled, you might not have a concert to go to, but there will be many fans in the same position...use this opportunity to expand your Duran Duran network. Grab dinner or a drink with these folks and compare war stories.
  • The band has always been generous to its fans...even more so in recent years. They will make up for the cancellation either through a special offer or by kicking off their next show in Atlantic City (who knows, maybe the discounted Diamond in the Mind video is part of it).
  • When one band member goes down, there's no temporary replacement. Just as the band couldn't tour without Simon, there's no way they can take the stage without Nick. Same goes for John, Roger, Dom and Anna. 
  • Having said that, it would have been kind of cool if John Taylor chose to soothe fans with a solo gig tonight. It also would have been a good promo for his upcoming book.
Finally, and I think I speak for all Duran Duran fans, we wish Nick a speedy recovery.