REVIEWS: Duran Duran, Scarborough Open Air Theater – photos

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DURAN Duran needs a little introduction, so let’s be brief. Alongside Spandau Ballet and Visage, the group was at the forefront of the neo-romantic movement of the early eighties. Their exotic and expensive music videos allowed them to gain a global audience via MTV and record sales that still make them one of the best-selling artists in the world.

It’s been six years since their last album, Paper Gods, came out and they’ve been quiet for quite some time now – at least here in the UK. But that is about to change. They now have a new single, Anniversary, and an album – Future Past – slated for release next month.

With an upcoming appearance at the Isle of Wight festival, the band returned to their roots last week by performing two intimate warm-up shows at the Birmingham Institute before heading to the Scarborough Open Air Theater for a performance at Ticket offices closed last night (Friday, September 17).

The evening’s entertainment started with the Glasgow Walt Disco, which is difficult to describe. They were labeled goth-glam and post-punk and they were certainly flamboyant, each with their own distinct look. Singer James Potter, whose voice oscillated between Dead or Alive’s Pete Burns and Associates’ Billy McKenzie, wore black lace briefs and what looked like a director’s robe.

Simon Le Bon then thanked them effusively on stage, saying they reminded him a lot of Duran Duran when they debuted.

When the lead actor entered the stage, it was to a loud voice, the heroes were welcome. Simon Le Bon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards), John Taylor (bass) and Roger Taylor (drums) were completed by guitarist Dom Brown who replaced Andy Taylor when he left the band in 2006. After a few moments to soak up the adulation the group plunged into Invisible from the next album.

This was the first indicator that while the band were happy to play a set of old favorites that would be popular with the crowd, they were also planning to take the opportunity to share some of the highly anticipated new tracks.

After testing the water with the new song, they followed up with The Reflex, Notorious and the new single Anniversary.

The anniversary in particular was excellent. Clearly written around and for the band’s 40th anniversary, the band came up with a song that purposefully sounds like Duran Duran from the classical era.

Bassist John Taylor recently said, “It was fun creating a track with hints of Duran’s previous hits, they’re like Easter Eggs, for fans to find.”

The mid-set included A View to a Kill and a few deeper tracks including Come Undone, Friends of Mine and Janelle Monáe / Nile Rodgers’ collaboration, Pressure Off which culminated in a huge explosion of confetti.

Their first hit, Planet Earth, was epic with John Taylor’s pompous bass riff driving the song like a juggernaut.

Firing the next song, Le Bon told the crowd, “The past two years have been terrible for many. We missed you guys, we missed being here in front of you. It’s very special for us to start over. We have a song called Ordinary World and over the years it’s kind of taken on different meanings and we really want to go back to something like an ordinary world.

A cover of Miss Mel’s White Lines was rowdy and energetic, paving the way for the roaring Girls on Film which they incorporated into Calvin Harris ‘Acceptable in the’ 80s.

It was a fun way to end the main set.

Naturally, the band weren’t finished and hooked up with Le Bon on acoustic guitar for Save a Prayer. “It’s the only song they let me play guitar on,” he joked.

Another cover, this time of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, followed, followed by Wild Boys. Finally, it was time for Rio and eight thousand people to happily sing along with the band under yet another shower of confetti at the end of the 2021 season at the Open Air Theater.

Duran Duran has proven that they always have what it takes. It was a wonderful performance spanning their entire career and brought us up to date with several new tracks.

The group looked in great shape with Nick Rhodes, resplendent in a bright blue suit and yellow shirt, in particular appearing to have defied the aging process.

Le Bon asked if we liked the Rhodes costume for which there was a huge thumbs up. “Good,” he replied, “You paid for it. ”

After a year of Covid, stoppages, departures and lingering uncertainties, everyone involved in putting together such a great season of artists on our doorstep deserves a huge pat on the back.

Some of next year’s shows have already been announced including The Wombats, Westlife, Crowded House, Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie, Lewis Capaldi and Ru Paul’s Drag Race and are on sale with more shows to be announced.

That’s until 2022!


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