The Chelsea, at The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas, 30 December 2017
'Fresh' from a New Year's Vegas weekend with about 8 hours sleep - and who arrived home to an earthquake - is Cherry Lipstick's roving reporter and official photographer, Baranduin, with what was very definitely her last Duran Duran concert of 2017.
I’ve carried this theory that what you’re doing at midnight as the New Year starts sets the tone for how you’ll spend your year. Midnight 2016/17 found me in Maryland, Nikon in hand, all dressed up, second row (I snuck up from my sixth row seat), JT side.
Did that set the tone? April was Atlanta. July - Oakland, SF and Hawaii. It wasn’t just Duran Duran either. There was The Four Postmen, BellX1, OMD, MuteMath, Vintage Trouble, Arrested Development, The Pointer Sisters, Hall & Oats, Tears for Fears, John Roderick, Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm.. But yes, this year, this year it was particularly apt as I ended the year almost exactly where I started it.
No, not Maryland, but in Las Vegas. Not NYE, but NYEE. Not second row, but first (eep! Thank you Loan!). All dressed up, Nikon in hand, JT side.
Why, you ask, would anyone go to six Duran Duran concerts in one year? Good question!
You won’t find me hanging out waiting for a selfie with a band member. So that’s not why I go. I won’t say I wasn’t excited when I saw a photo of John Taylor (and me) on the Duran Duran feed as I was scrolling through instagram on December 30th 2016, but the only time I was actually close enough to one of them in real life to actually ask, there was no way that was going to happen. I knew would say something garbled and foolish and hate myself forever. (“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” said somebody somewhere). Sure, I envy those people with lovely photos with Roger, Simon, John and Nick, but I won’t - I can’t spend all day waiting for them. Because even if I did, I wouldn’t know how to ask, and then I’d screw up the selfie. I suck at selfies. I’m a great photographer, terrible subject. So, nope, I don't go with hopes to meet the band.
One thing about Duran Duran playing in Vegas is that everybody comes from all over to see the band play. Those names from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all gathering in the same city.
“Did you hear Durandy is going to be here?”
“You are going to the Daily Duranie thing, right?”
“Has anybody seen the big thong guy yet?”.
It was great to see so many friends, some I’d never met in person before, but yet seemed instantly comfortable. A kaleidoscope of memories: My amazing personalized Durandy book. Dancing to All She Wants Is. The bartender taking her own selfie at the end of our group shot. Michelle, in her 30’s, getting so excited at not being the youngest at the Daily Duranie gathering. 8am facetime because texting was just too challenging. Tacos at El Gordos. Wandering along the strip with Michael, finding favorite free photo spots. Taking over the reserved section at the chandelier bar and meeting so so many wonderful fellow fans. Getting so warm that I snuck out to the men’s shop and buying a ridiculously expensive mens shirt (with tigers on it) so I wouldn’t risk showing off a bare midriff. Bringing everyone back to my room for pizza at 2am. Karaoke at 3am. Laughing with Amanda Pants at 4am. I swear Duran Duran is the fountain of youth. Albeit possibly a temporary one.
Somewhere in all this fun there was even a concert. And, yes. This is why I go.
I don’t care that the set list doesn’t change much. I miss songs when they take them off. I love all the new additions, I just want, I don’t know, a twelve hour concert? When the fog seeps up and the hum starts and JT saunters out on stage, gets his bass and stands there all in silhouette, then you see Simon moving in from the back center… that’s it, that’s why I’m there, that’s where it all comes into focus. Especially if I have my Nikon and a good view.
It’s like a Broadway show. I know the backdrops. I know which will pop. I’ve seen it enough now I know when things are going to happen. As a photographer I love that I can prepare for the shots.
“Paper Gods” sets the tone with the pale faces holding court. “Wild Boys” when JT and Simon sing together. “Pressure Off” Simon comes over stage right. (Reaching for the) sunrise medlies into the full new moon. During “The Reflex” Simon goes up to Nick with the microphone. What is it that he said tonight? Any guesses? Ah so many, but nobody knows. White lines is - well, most seasoned DD fans know what happens in “White Lines”. There are variations along the way. The order changes a bit - “Last Night in the City” into the encore, and in another artistic change, classic photos were featured as the backdrop during “Hold Back The Rain.”
But the form, the sonnet remains the same, coming to the same last few lines. Simon strumming on the guitar, singing about taking chances, then those iconic Patrick Nagel Lips. It never grows old. We never tire.
This fountain of youth we feed off of is the music. It does indeed make us feel alive, alive, alive.
Jeff (@duranimalJeff and @DD40_2018) and Michael (@Notoriousaurus - Cherry Lipstick Fanzine Week contributor)
Michelle posing with Rhonda (@L8BarMom) and Amanda (@aputz) from Daily Duranie
Amanda Pants (@Pants7609) and Andy (aka Durandy, author of The Music Between Us www.durandy.com)
And here are some other people you may recognise....
and the final one is Baranduin's signature image...
all photos, of course, by Baranduin - follow on Instagram and Twitter
and more from Baranduin at Cherry Lipstick here