Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's a little alarming when you realise that the only gigs you've been to this year have been Duran Duran gigs. For someone who used to be a music journalist, and who used to be a rabidly enthusiastic attendee at as many gigs as she could get tickets to, this realisation comes as somewhat of a shock.
What's worse is when you realise that not only is the band getting older, but you're getting older to. You swap the support band for a nice dinner and get there later than you ever would have a decade ago, only to realise that they've come on earlier than they would have a decade ago. Luckily, their earliness manages to coincide with your lateness with the net result that you end up strolling through into the venue just as the opening strains of their opening number insinuate their way through the (pretty much smoke-free) air into your entirely unprepared brain.
The benefit of being an older attendee is that you're much better at compartmentalising, and can switch to gig-mode faster than you used to. And you don't need 15 pints of snakebite to get you in the mood. Instead, you just get all into the music, start dancing like it's 1983, (wait, you mean… it's not?! But they just played Union of the Snake!), and generally enjoy yourself.
The years of moisturiser have been kind to Duran Duran. The lads look cute as they ever did – in some cases cuter. But glancing round the audience, the years of moisturiser have been kind to us too. Either that or the demographic's slipped since I last looked.
This time, though, D2's show is a little less showy, a little less flash, a little less expensive. No on-stage cameramen feeding pictures up to huge screens, no moving circular lighting rigs, no plush backdops. I guess it's something to do with them spending part of this year without a label, and whomever signed them (god, I'm a bad fan, I have no idea who they signed to) not wanting to spend all that much cash when there's no new album to promote.
And Earls Court is a wholly soulless venue. Compared to January, when Kate and I saw them at the lovely, intimate Hammersmith Palais, this gig is like watching them playing in a barn. Through binoculars. From a vantage point three fields over.
But despite that, D2 never do a bad gig. Even though Simon's voice sounded a bit tired; even though he forgot the words at times; even though we couldn't see Jack shit… it was still fun. Particularly the pyrotechnics. I don't think I've ever been to a gig with pyrotechnics before. Even from where I was, far back in the auditorium, I could feel the heat of the flame as it roared in time with Wild Boys. Must have been incendiary on stage.
Christmas roast, anyone?
Next time, though, we will make more of an event of it. Spend all afternoon getting ready. Arrive before doors open. Get overpriced drinks that taste like goat urine from the bar. Fight our way to the front so that we can swoon over JT and Simon as they look down upon us from their ivory stage. Get our feet trodden on by some fly-by-night bimbette (probably called Pam Ann) who's just that little bit too eager to get close to Nick. Fantasise that the security guards will realise our little Pammy has a restraining order on her. Swear under our breath at Really Fucking Tall Guy who stands like a brick shithouse in front of us, grumping his way through the gig and broadcasting the i'monlyherebecausemygirlfriendsaidshe'dnevershagmeagainifididn't aura that, as female Durannies, we've come to know so well over the years.
Aaah yes. I remember what we missed out on last night. Maybe next time we should just have an early dinner at Andrew Edmunds instead…

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