So it’s not going to be DD40 in 2018 after all.
On 26th December Simon had teased that 2018 would only be “the beginning of the 40th anniversary celebrations.”
Then, on 28th December, buried deep at the end of Nick’s long year-end message to us fans, he delivered a statement to squash all the build-up from the past year:
“It will be a limited number of performances in 2018… we have a lot of things we are planning for the 40th anniversary, which is officially 2020 but will start in 2019.”
So, as @frankmeer said on Twitter earlier, those 25th anniversary shows in 2003 actually were 23-year anniversary shows. The 1978 references – that have been around since the 80s and picked up steam at the time of the Reunion – appear to have been swished away 72 hours before the start of 2018.
The band do appear to have allowed the DD40 thing to have built over the course of 2017. Statements such as Nick’s could have been made at any point when the momentum was gathering. So what has changed?
It had become increasingly obvious that the band were not ready for anything major in 2018. America has been done to death over the past two years so the well is probably dry on casual fans buying tickets. The additional US dates at the end of 2017 may have given the band the feeling they deserved a rest. With no tour dates booked in 2018 it is already a bit late to gear up a world tour. With no new material ready (or agreed by the powers-that-be) it would presumably be (at best) another greatest hits compilation. And Simon has his 60th birthday in October.
The question is: does this matter?
U2 found that their fans had noticed that 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of their band getting together at college. The band themselves marked the occasion with a comment or two on their website, and that was that. There were no shows, new songs or re-releases. Then, in early 2017, and to general surprise, U2 announced a tour to mark the 30th anniversary of the Joshua Tree. Clearly the band felt that that was worthy of recognition but their formation in 1976 was not.
So Duran are choosing similarly to not get too bothered about the actual date Nick and John decided to form a band, but are focussing more on other dates important to themselves. Nick offers two clues as to what they are.
April 5th 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Duran Duran live performance; whilst 16 July 2020 is, of course, the 40th anniversary of Simon's first show and the public birth of the Fab 5. Is this what Nick is referring to? I might add that to the general public February 2021 might seem more fitting as that is the 40th anniversary of Planet Earth's release, so perhaps we should be grateful that Nick did not choose that.
Which leaves us with 2018 looking like being one of those dry years on the Duran front. A few choice shows, perhaps, over the summer. Teasers of new music. Gossip of the what might yet come in 2019/20.
After all the build up it does feels like a bit of shame but we’ve all been here before. Cherry Lipstick will be here to keep you company, so Happy New Year to you all.