Whoa. I lost November somewhere…and part of December too. Where do the weeks go? I had big plans for writing, and then the Hall of Fame came along, and bam! It’s now December 13. What?!? I won’t lie, real life has been kicking my ass lately. I’ve had concerts and other holiday performances to rehearse and play, parenting, shopping and shopping to do, watching the high school football team win their very first state championship, going to my daughter’s performances for band…it’s been a lot. I’m sure many, if not all of you, can share similar escapades. Then there’s the holidays, of course.
I’ll also let you in on a not-so-little secret – we don’t even have our Christmas tree up yet! That’s not exactly MY fault, though. We have a very large, extremely heavy 12-foot tree that gets put in our living room. My husband has one simple job – bring the damn tree in from our garage attic. I can’t do it myself, and it is seriously the ONE thing I ask him to do each year in December. You’d think I’d requested him to amputate his own arm. So, here it is, the 13th of December and there are two ladders in our living room (another story altogether), but no tree.
I may just start decorating the ladders.
So, what else has been happening in Duranland that I can comment on?
Back in November, Duran Duran announced a series of four dates in England (and later a second date added at the O2), along with a single arena date in Dublin, calling the whole thing their UK Headline Arena Tour. To be fair, Amanda and I always did say that four dates equaled a tour, three being just a “long weekend”. Regardless, I can’t help but comment that it’s a far cry from the days of 2011 when in December of that year they played 11 arena dates in the UK and then one date in Dublin.
At the rest of being a little self-centered on my own blog, I’ll just say that December 2011 UK tour has been my absolute favorite trip of all time. Sure, I was only there for four of the dates, and spent much of the time feeling like a human popsicle (ice lolly for those outside of the US), but it was tremendous. I fell in love with England during that time of year. The band only heightened my experience, capped off by second row center in Glasgow. The whole thing was a dream, and I’ll never forget it.
If only having four UK dates weren’t enough for fans to complain about, the elevated ticket prices didn’t help. Those of us in the US have been openly crying foul for months now. Even I have passed up several chances in recent months to see the band purely because I refused to pay the going rates or deal with Dynamic Pricing in order to get tickets. I’ll get to that in a minute. For now, I’ll say it is a sorry shame when UK fans I’ve known for decades now stop going to gigs because they simply can’t afford them. When it comes down to whether you have heat for winter, or you see Duran Duran, it is a problem. It’s not just a commentary on the band, but also on the state of the world at the moment. Promoters, management, venues and ticketing agencies are completely tone deaf regarding the economics of the time.
While UK ticket prices are still lower than what those of us in the US have been experiencing, I feel their pain. The unfairness of the pricing coupled with the struggle so many are facing right now leaves a sharp ache in my heart. Many comments were made online regarding wealthy US fans making the trip to the UK in droves, and other long time fans hope the band notices their absence from the front rows and stops to wonder why.
Swifties go after Ticketmaster
Somewhere amongst the holiday hustle and bustle, there were presales for Taylor Swift’s tour in 2023. Normally, I wouldn’t even notice, much less make comment. However, this year – the Swifties broke Ticketmaster. I’ve seen some crazy things in my lifetime when it comes to that particular ticketing agency, but this takes the cake. Not only did the demand outweigh supply, it completely overwhelmed the system. So on one hand, you have fans waiting online for not just minutes, but hours, only to be told they couldn’t make a purchase. On the other, there didn’t seem to be any problem with tickets immediately being available for secondary market pricing. I personally saw tickets in more than one venue that were going for upwards of $50,000. I heard of tickets near the front going for more than $100,000 (I didn’t see that pricing personally though). Pandemonium? You bet!
So, Ticketmaster suspends the sale. Cancels it completely, saying that due to the lack of tickets available and the reality that their service can’t handle the traffic – the sale was over. Absolutely. Why fix the issues when you can sell whatever tickets you can on the secondary marketplace you’ve already put in place??? Unbelievable. I’ve never really seen Ticketmaster completely “crumble” the way it did for this sale. My personal belief is that not only did the service not “crumble”…they will profit in the end! Unfair? Most assuredly. As I sat in my chair yelling “I’d sue!”, Swift’s fans did exactly that. I hope to stay on top of news of the lawsuit, and I can guarantee I’ll be cheering the fans on with their case. Ticketmaster has been the bane of any and all fans existence for as long as I can remember. Pearl Jam tried their best to draw attention to the evil business practices and monopolistic behavior of Ticketmaster back in the 90s, and maybe now is the time people will listen.
Good old fashioned marketing
When Duran Duran announced they would be joining BMG, many fans speculated that there would be a plethora of different album versions, colors, covers, etc as marketing tools to boost sales. The band has not disappointed with Future Past. Along with the original album, the green, clear, red and black vinyls, there have been several other releases over the past year. Most recently, the band released Future Past: The Complete Edition. According to the band’s website, the album offers all 16 tracks from the Japanese CD spread over two vinyl records, one red, one green. Enclosed in gatefold packaging which features a new silver/grey version the cover art, it also includes two 12” x 12” art booklets.
Then there are the remixes, for all of you completists out there to add to your playlists. Not only has Erol Alkan remixed “All of You” (which the band released as a 12” inch single), but earlier this month the band announced that beloved BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong teamed up with producer John Monkman to put their own spin on “Give it All Up”. I don’t believe this one was made into a physical release just yet – but it’s likely only a matter of time.
2022 is nearly a wrap
What can be said about this past year?
It is mid-December now, and the next few weeks will assuredly fly by. My family begins arriving this weekend, and before I know it – we’ll be knee deep in wrapping paper, boxes, bows and laughter. The year flew past in a blink. While my 2022 did have a couple bright “spotlights” from Duran Duran, I found that a lot of my joy came from other friends, family, and trips. I visited Italy, survived nearly a full year of caring for my mom, a different position with my non-profit community band corporation (one that requires less politics and more computer time!) and even became a merch lady for Dom and Jason. Speaking of that fabulous DJ duo – I saw them twice in Vegas! On top of that, I went to a movie premiere and made new Duranie friends. I drank a lot of wine, bought a lot of wine, and learned to love Aperol Spritzes.
As far as Duran goes, who could ever forget the Hall of Fame? Whether you’re a fan of the HoF or not, seeing the show on TV with the superstars who performed was incredibly entertaining. If you were lucky enough to be there in person, the night meant even more to you. What about the world premiere of “A Hollywood High”? I loved seeing the band appear and talk about the movie. It was a fun night to be in Hollywood at the very theater used for the Oscars. Going to Vegas to see the band a couple of times capped my year off on a great note. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my friends and becoming closer. It was a great year to be a Duranie.
There were less “bright” moments as well. I’ve struggled with some personal issues this year – my health and keeping my mom out of trouble, most notably. Hearing about Andy and his metastatic prostate cancer was a shock, and it was sad that he missed the Hall of Fame as a result. As I mentioned earlier, I chose to miss shows this year purely due to ticket prices. While I know many who don’t mind – I simply refuse to pay two or three times what I paid just prior to Covid in order just to “get in” the venues in Vegas, never mind being anywhere near the front. Perhaps a sign of the times, or a sign that I’ve finally hit my own limit, I’m not sure.
Looking ahead to 2023
Of course, I would like to see more concerts. I’ve said that I refuse to deal with Dynamic Pricing. That statement holds. I won’t participate in presales until that ends. Meaning that I’ll wait out the crazy buying and see what I can get on my own afterwards. I’ve also decided that while I dearly miss seeing Duran Duran, and in particular I miss seeing Dom on stage and the constant banter we’ve had going for the past eighteen years or so, I just need to get to the UK to go see Uncovered (Dom’s cover band) play. It is easier said than done when it comes to scheduling, thanks to my jobs of mom, caregiver, musician and webmaster, but I’m determined. I’m going.
I’d also like to travel again. Italy was great this year. While my husband his best buddy want our next trip to be to Spain, I’d really love to go to the UK and parts of the EU during December for the Winter/Holiday markets. I’ve always wanted to see Bavarian Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and I don’t mind freezing a bit to make it happen. A little closer to home, I’d like to be able to go camping up at our favorite lake during the summer. We haven’t gone since we moved up to the central coast, and its time.
On the homestead, 2023 will mark the addition of some four-footed and furry new friends to the farm. Currently Walt and I are in ongoing “negotiations” as to what will come first, but we will be adding sheep (his choice) and goats (mine) this year, along with some sort of livestock guardian. This requires building two small sheds/barns though, so this will take some time. I can’t wait!
Then, there’s the cider business, which hasn’t been forgotten. Our apple trees continue to grow, although with the drought in California, they’ve struggled a lot in 2022. We had originally planned for a hundred trees to be planted this fall (as in, right now), but we agreed to wait it out, instead working on irrigation and other not-nearly-as-fun things. Owlman (The name of our cider company is Owlman Cider) has been looking into very large fermentation tanks this year for Christmas, and Mrs. Santa is wondering where he thinks he’s going to put them. Bye-bye, garage!!! We just bottled this year’s hard cider and did two types: one is an 80/20 blend of Mutsu and Granny Smith apples, and the other is a co-fermentation of Granny Smith and pomegranate. They’re the best he’s made yet! The plan is to get the bigger equipment and start making to sell. I have to completely change our website, get a new logo designed, and really start helping. Who needs sleep anyway?
I don’t know if I will have time to write again before January, so Happy Holidays, and have a wonderful New Year. That’s a wrap from me!