Duran Duran Setlist
07/29/16 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay
07/30/16 Irvine, CA Irvine Meadows Amph
08/02/16 Chula Vista, CA Sleep Train Amph
08/03/16 Glendale, AZ Gila River Arena
08/05/16 Outside Lands Music & Arts Festiva
08/27/16 Musicfest NW Presents Project Pabst
08/28/16 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
08/30/16 Calgary, AB Scotiabank Saddledome
09/01/16 Everett, WA Xfinity Arena At Everett
09/02/16 Airway Heights, WA Northern Quest
09/04/16 JAS Aspen Snowmass Experience
09/06/16 San Antonio, TX H-E-B Performance Hall
09/07/16 San Antonio, TX H-E-B Performance Hall
09/09/16 Durant, OK Choctaw Grand Theatre
09/10/16 Durant, OK Choctaw Grand Theatre
Like the line from a 1988 Duran Duran song, their recent show in front of 10,000 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, was a lot about the groove, though the “Pressure” was not necessarily “Off”.
After over thirty-eight years and thousands of shows, the Birmingham band still had to triumph over the absence of a key member and having to top a funky and extended opening set, to prove their legendary status, but ultimately more than won over the crowd with a 110 min. performance of old favorites and new songs from their latest, Paper Gods (on Warner Bros Records).
Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
Though original cohorts Tony Thompson and Bernard Edwards have passed on, Rodgers more than ably keeps the flag flying with his new lineup, signature rhythm guitar riffs, and a truly rejuvenated new chapter on life, after battling a potentially life-threatening bout of prostate cancer, five years ago.
Vocalists Kimberly Davis and Folami Ankoanda shined in vocalists roles made famous by Fonzi Thornton and Michelle Cobbs, especially on the Diana Ross covers that helped put Rodgers and bassist Edwards on the map, as star producers. The trip into the past continued, reminding the faithful and enlightening the unaware, of all of the hits Rodgers has had a hand in over the last thirty years, from Sister Sledge, to Madonna, David Bowie, and Daft Punk.
“I decided that I was going to write more songs, than I have ever written in my life. I decided I was going to do more live shows, than I’ve ever done in my life… since I didn’t know how long my life would be”, Rodgers remarked, opening up about his cancer struggle. Ending with a triptych of irresistible hits, the clock was indeed magically turned back to 1979, to Studio 54 in New York, where people again found their disco groove.
Singer Simon Le Bon emerged out of the dense haze, in motorcycle jacket white pants, and a “teeth” t-shirt graphic, from the new album’s cover. Bassist John Taylor smiled often and early, wearing a black leather jacket and a Rio-lips t-shirt, flanked by guitarist Dom Brown, while drummer Roger Taylor was nearly hidden by his large drum kit.
Keyboardist Nick Rhodes was forced to recently leave the tour due to a family issue in the UK, but was replaced by Mark Ronson protégé, MNDR (Amanda Warner), an indie synthpop artist in her own right, born in Fargo and who attended Macalester College in St. Paul.
“Did you get your beer and your hot dogs tonight… or is anybody Hungry!?” Le Bon shouted, before the band broke into its biggest hit, just three songs into the set. ‘A View to a Kill’ followed, with full James Bond intro and the band brought back collaborator Rodgers on stage, for a take on their 1986 song, ‘Notorious’ and new single thirty years later, ‘Pressure Off’.
Le Bon’s voice warmed as the show progressed and the stage set and video screens and lights were all relatively simple, somewhat puzzling for a band that pioneered the music video format, to not be barraged with that media, in concert.
‘Planet Earth’ smartly segued into a David Bowie tribute, with the Thin White Duke’s face on the screens as the band moved into the last part of his ‘Space Oddity’. The UK funk of 1988’’s ‘I Don’t Want Your Love’ then led into their cover of ‘White Lines’ from 1995’s tribute album, Thank You, complete with Le Bon in b-boy rapper cap.
2003 comeback single ‘Sunrise’ was shaken up, with a snippet of ‘New Moon on Monday’ inserted near the end, and the set ended with the live version of Rodgers’ remix of ‘The Reflex’ and an electro update of 1981’s ‘Girls on Film’.
The encore started with a heartfelt ‘Save a Prayer’, dedicated to Prince with stage lights turning all purple. “As music fans around the world mourned the death of Prince earlier this year, I guess nobody felt it more than you guys here”, Le Bon said. “Make the stars come out for Prince” Le Bon implored as the song started, palm trees images appeared on the screens, and lighted cellphones swayed in the air.
As the familiar Patrick Nagel painting flashed overhead, everyone knew ‘Rio’ would end the show, with dancing ensuing in the aisles and baby boomers momentarily reliving the glories of their youth, from hearing that song again, some thirty-four years later.
Rhythm had ruled the night, the gauntlet thrown down first by Chic featuring Nile Rodgers then answered by Duran Duran and their career-encompassing set, both as evidence that yesterday’s music legends, still have plenty more to say.
Duran Duran with Nile Rodgers
John Taylor and Dominic Brown
Simon Le Bon
Duran Duran at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul (23 July 2016)