Last night I was lucky enough to see Duran Duran play a special warm-up show at the intimate Shepherd's Bush Empire and I have to say – it's the smallest venue I've ever seen them perform in ever, so you can imagine what a treat it was! I'm a bit of a Duranie myself having seen the band live six times over their incredible 30 year history. But to see them live in such a small venue for such iconic megastars was something I'll never forget.
The gig was being recorded for Radio 2 and Simon Le Bon and the gang were on-point to the max. As you can imagine, the show was a total retro rewind with the band performing 50% massive hits and 50% new material from their latest album. When Duran Duran told us they were returning to the sound of "Rio" – they didn't lie either. All the new tracks sounded as fresh and current as the old songs did back in their hayday, and let's face it kids, the sound of Duran Duran never sounds dated.
So let's get this out of the way – what old songs did they play? Well how bout "A View To A Kill", "Is There Something I Should Know", "Notorious", "Reflex", "Ordinary World", "Come Undone", "Girls On Film" and my personal highlight of the night – "Sunrise". No need for re-invention here either, the songs were exactly as they were, exactly how you know and love them - with Simon Le Bon's voice sounding as note perfect and captivating as it always has over the years. I want his secret youth pills!
So what about the new stuff? Well "All You Need Is Now" sounded rather poptastic loud and live. The holidaymaker themed track "Mediterranea" sounded divine and lush with Simon telling us how it was really one of the first tracks they wrote which set the tone for their new material. However new track "Girl Panic" rocked the house and I could really see a potential single in that tune - watch out for that one EQs!
What struck me most about the whole night is that I realized no other band can ever replicate what Duran Duran do. Do you know of any other other band that has been able to recreate their unique fusion of guitars, synths and melody? I don't – and that what makes them iconic and why they possess that "pop magic" that drives us all wild. Even when they busted out an 80's saxofone, I thought to myself – "Wow – I haven't seen a saxofone at at live gig in ages!" Real instruments, real instrumentation, real melodies and sheer excitement is what sets Duran Duran apart from the rest and it is why they have remained relevant over time.
When the world keeps waiting for Duran Duran to go away – they never will. And has long as they have the enthusiastic crowd that supported them at last night's sold out show in Shepherd's Bush Empire, Duran Duran will always be icons. I'll probably be playing greatest hits CD "Decade" now on my iPod for the next week! And how interesting was it to see one of the boys from Dekade in the crowd as well – wow, if only they would tour together, that would be amazing.
Missed the show? Don't fret – Duran Duran will embark on a big tour pretty soon and will be back at London's O2 arena on May 28th and The Roundhouse on July 1st! Those shows I cannot miss.
Also check out Holy Moly's review of the show as well.