I was lucky enough to be given free tickets for the gig enabling me to relive my youth (again). I have always wanted to see Duran Duran and it seemed the perfect way to start the Christmas week…getting the tickets free from my sister-in-law (who works in media and often gets the odd freebie) always helps of course. We couldn’t be choosey on seats (seeing as though we didn’t pay for them!) but luckily we were just to the side of the stage and the view was excellent. Delighted, we sat down early and, like everyone else around us, were excited for the night ahead…everyone except the miserable fu*kers next to us that is…more on them later.
I, like the majority of the crowd here, grew up with Duran Duran on the radio and MTV. Admittedly nostalgia can be a dangerous thing sometimes; you can end up being disappointed, but tonight the Birmingham band didn’t let anyone down. As an added bonus, Irish band, Royseven, were supporting. I had seen them earlier this year as special guests to the Kaiser Chiefs. They were great that night and again tonight were on flying form. Playing a 35 minute set featuring songs from their second album You Say, We Say they seemingly felt comfortable and at home in the arena environment. The seven song support slot included the fabulous album title track as well as the catchy Dance, Dance, Dance and We Should Be Lovers. Before the latter song, singer Paul Walsh mentioned that it was officially the most played Irish song on Irish radio for 2011 (and 4th most played out of any song). Congratulations to them on that achievement but I have a feeling that will be nothing compared to what may come in the years ahead. Without a doubt success beckons for the entertaining Irish band.
Duran Duran opened their set just before 9pm with the atmospheric, new song Before The Rain. This was followed with Planet Earth and View To A Kill both of which had the old faithful dancing. It was clear from the off that the audience was here to enjoy themselves and the band was to (this being their unofficial Christmas party). The only people not enjoying themselves were the idiot couple next to me who if they weren’t going to the bar, or going to the toilet were busy chatting away to each other. Absolutely zero interest in the show. Why come to the gig? Maybe they were given tickets but still why go? After been asked to move for the 6th time I started to show my displeasure (our seats were at the end of the row and dumb and dumber were next to us). They finally knew I was getting pissed off with them and that may or may not have had something to do with why they left half an hour before the end…but enough about them…back to the show.
The band was on great form tonight and they didn’t just rehash the old stuff either. In fact they played five or six tracks from latest album All You Need Is Now, a great show of confidence in themselves. Not many bands would do the same after thirty years together preferring instead to go purely down the greatest hits route. Well hats off to the lads as they managed to provide a mix of old and new. Of the new songs,Girl Panic (as good as anything they have done) and the album title track deserve special mention and showed that this band still has a lot to offer.
As good as the new songs are though it would be silly of me not to admit that it was the older tracks that I was here for. Listing some of the classics played (and yes they are classics) shows what great songs they have in their armoury…Planet Earth / A View To A Kill / Come Undone / The Reflex / Is There Something I Should Know? / Notorious / Careless Memories / Ordinary World / Hungry Like The Wolf/Wild Boys/Girls On Film/Rio…ok Duran Duran may not be to everyone’s taste but that is some back catalogue at their disposal. Tonight they were all played to an enthusiastic audience and maybe even the band themselves gave that bit more as this was the last gig of the year. Simon Le Bon was on sparkling form (it was noticeable how strong his voice was tonight and when paired with backing singer Anna Ross’s vocals made for a great harmony); indeed all the lads were on great form. Nick Rhodes standing majestic at the keyboards, John Taylor social networking his way through the gig and Roger Taylor owning the drums.
The only misstep was their cover of White Lines. This came after the instrumental, Tiger, Tiger (while Simon and Anna had a quick costume change). I actually love their studio version of the song taken from the Thank You covers album (not everyone’s favourite it has to be said) but tonight I didn’t think it worked particularly well. Kudos again to the band though for stubbornly ignoring their critics and playing the song and it was still kind of fun.
The show flew by, from the superb opening to the main set closer (the rather excellentReach Up For The Sunrise) the band had the audience enthralled. To top it off the encore ofWild Boysmixed withRelax(yes, the Frankie song), Girls On Filmand finally Rio was a great way to finish.
I had dragged the wife along to the gig tonight and she seemed to enjoy it. Amazingly she did not know who Duran Duran were or any of their songs (half way through the set she realised that this was the band that sang Ordinary World). I found that quite unbelievable but then again she is seven years younger than me so maybe they were off her radar…whatever the reason it made me feel old again…but in a good way…a nostalgic way. Nostalgic for the 80’s…a decade which was rather strange musically with everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. For me Duran Duran are very much in the former category and unlike many of their peers look set for many more years ahead of them. Great stuff.
This was my twenty first gig of 2011. A concert year that started late in April with Paul Heaton and finished tonight with Duran Duran; the most ever shows in one year for me, and that coming after 22 years of gig going. Like the lads on stage tonight music seems to be keeping me entertained and long may the gig going continue.
Here’s to 2012.
Ticket: December 20th 2011
Ticket Price: €44.20 (Free to me though...thankyou Sister-In-Law)