Words provided by Dany Jones (Metal Talk) 10th JULY 2022
BST Hyde Park Review for Duran Duran / Joined by Special Guests Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Aurora, Laura Mvula & more!
The weather could not have been kinder, offering an absolute scorcher hitting the mid-thirties, for the closing night of an incredibly eventful weekend and the last of the series of the BST at Hyde Park.
Previous nights have seen a string of notable artists including Adele, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and a double whammy performance by Pearl Jam, while today sees many more including the likes of Stacey Ryan, Warmduscher and Aurora.
The artists of the day certainly make an excellent job at warming the crowds, however, it is all in preparation for the two high calibres that are about to take to the stage: Nile Rodgers performing with Chic, followed by legendary eighties icons and headliners Duran Duran.
After catching Aurora mid-set as we set camp, we witness an amusing anecdote when the Norwegian singer takes a moment to explain to the audience that she is very hot in her long dress. She then candidly apologises for repeatedly reaching out for her panties that keep getting stuck to her bottom because of the sweat. The pit laughs in unison.
This Bjorkesque Scandinavian creature is endearing, funny, engaging and unpretentious. She graces us with her songbook including Runaway and Running With The Wolves, amongst others, and her set goes down like a breeze on this particularly hot day.
A quick peek at the Rainbow Stage to catch some of the quirky bass-heavy post-Punktastic goodness courtesy of Warmduscher, has us inevitably bobbing away.
The Dub-driven Burner gets followed by the bombastic upbeat of Disco Peanuts; the latter travelling through the crisp air like the release of a lantern in the blue sky after you make a wish. The audience, ranging across all ages, are certainly buying into the summer party vibe, freely dancing away while mixing in a sea of colours and glitter-painted faces.
The whole day feels just glorious.
Back on the main stage, the crowd is growing exponentially.
You would think that an artist of the calibre of Nile Rodgers could live off his royalties for the next three lives merely based on the number of endless hits that he has produced over the years. However, despite his status and two devastating cancer bouts, he still stands before us with heaps of positive energy simply doing what he does best.
A truly timeless icon, Rodgers reveals that his single biggest driver has always been his passion for writing and performing. He follows by saying that he once got asked in an interview how he would describe Chic in terms of musical genre, and he explains that they are an R&B / Dance / Disco / Funk / Soul band and that they play Soul music because all the songs that he writes come from the soul.
With the mastery of a collective of absolute pros backed by an incredibly robust rhythm section, Chic unleash a journey through the eras that sees a sequence of anthems that have us absolutely spoilt for choice. We have the best of the best of Sister Sledge with We Are Lost In Music and Thinking Of You, Diana Ross’s I Am Coming Out and Upside Down, and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, to name a few. Such songs are all hits that Nile Rogers ever so gracefully defines as ‘collaborations’.
During another break, he tells the story of when he stumbled into a French duo making electronic music known as Daft Punk. He explains that Get Lucky was born inspired by his battle with cancer and how lucky he feels to still be alive and able to do this today.
Some skillfully orchestrated medleys include Like a Virgin / Material Girl / Modern Love, when, inundated by a sea of diamonds projected onto the giant screen, we learn that even Madonna got struck with the Mida’s touch back when she was a struggling emerging artist in New York.
The showcase climaxes into another medley of Good Times / Under Pressure / Rapper’s Delight and this collective truly exits with a bang.
Today is a very special day indeed for Duran Duran, as it marks the 40th anniversary that sees this band going as strong as ever.
Formed in Birmingham in 1978 and with 15 studio albums to date under their belt, the golden quartet released their latest record Future Past last October 2021.
The foursome has always mixed fashion with music and their image remains sleek and meticulously stylish.
Tonight, the core of the group sees the aid of guitarist Dominic Brown and long-term vocalist Anna Ross, with the addition of Rachael O’ Connor as second backing.
Duran Duran attacks the stage with an incendiary Wild Boys sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy. The 1984 video remains one of the most intricate and extravagant productions of all time, while the song has since become an absolute anthem.
Would these boys who met in a Birmingham joint ever have thought to become absolute Pop icons that would still fill stadiums forty years down the line?
In earlier interviews, the band explained that their recipe for the success of such a long, prosperous career and them staying together throughout (with the exception of guitarist Andy Taylor), is that there is a special bond determined by real friendship and respect for one another first and foremost. Furthermore, they have made the conscious decision to work totally democratically, where every idea gets bounced around the table and all proceeds get equally split four ways irrespective of ownership.
Duran Duran are on top form and sounding as good as ever. It truly seems like the time never passed.
The set is a balanced blend of New Wave nostalgia, taking us through a trip down memory lane going back as far as their first self-titled release dated 1981, and songs from their latest production including the single Invisible.
As engaging as ever throughout and never once losing momentum, the band have the audience totally captivated, where people dance, sing back every word, some even shed a tear, and simply enjoy every single moment of this incredible celebration.
Gone are the days of the Duranie mania, yet the love for this wonder group gets carried over three generations and is certainly alive on this very crisp summer evening.
A truly special moment is marked with the introduction of Notorious when the band invite long-term friend and collaborator Nile Rodgers back on the stage to perform with them the next two numbers. Simon goes: ‘so officially today this man becomes an honorary member of Duran Duran’.
We then get invited to a moment of reflection to spare a thought to our brothers and sisters of war-torn Ukraine ‘we wish them peace in their own country, happy lives. This song is about not giving up hope, about when things are really hard, to still holding on to your faith in the world and in humanity. This is Ordinary World’.
It is truly mesmerising to watch the sun go down while feeling the thumping beat provided by the band navigating more classics including Planet Earth, Hold Back the Rain and the iconic The Reflex. The pit has effectively turned into a dance floor.
At a time when popular music meant live instruments and great technical ability, the dynamic duo Roger / John Taylor have certainly made their mark with their numerous infectious grooves. The bassist, in the specifics, and perhaps alongside icons of the likes of Slap master Mark King of Level 42, remains one of the most interesting, exciting and exquisitely elaborate of the genre.
In the 80s, the live videos for Save a Prayer see a sea of flames dancing in the air. Today, instead, during the encore and prompted by Simon himself, a sea of mobile phones sets the pit alight, but the magic remains the same.
It is at this stage that Simon has all eyes on him for a truly moving vocal rendition, while, worth of noting, is also the spellbinding synth motif delivered by the statuesque Nick Rhodes.
The band could not have closed on anything other than the popularly acclaimed Rio.
With a chorus as catchy as a cold on a winter day,andJohnTaylor’s most epic bass line of all times, 65,000 voices raise in the sky in unison while dancing around and waving their arms back at Simon.
Hard to say where to go from here when you have well and truly arrived.
Probably one of the most celebrated bands of all time, Duran Duran holds the torch high as the ultimate Pop icon. Nothing short of electrifying, they deliver shows that wow crowds all over the world.
Since the very early 80s, the band have been the catalyst of an entire movement. They have been adored, mobbed by the crowds, chased endlessly and generated a frenzy that only equals the crazed fans of the infamous Beatle-mania. Yet, to this day, they remain incredibly cool, approachable, grateful and will always be the ultimate gentlemen.
Later this year, they have already anticipated a reunion with old guitarists Andy Taylor and Warren Cuccurullo for the occasion, and will rightfully be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We could not think of anyone more deserving.
Simon Le Bon – Vocals
Dominic Brown – Guitar
Nick Rhodes – Keys
John Taylor – Bass
Roger Taylor – Drums
Rachael O’ Connor – Bv’s
Anna Ross – Bv’s
The Wild Boys
All of You
A View to a Kill (007 soundtrack)
Union of the Snake
Notorious (with Nile Rodgers)
Pressure Off (with Nile Rodgers)
Give It All Up
Hungry Like the Wolf
Friends of Mine
Ordinary World (Dedicated to the people of Ukraine)
Planet Earth (With band intros)
Hold Back the Rain
White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) (Grandmaster Melle Mel cover)
Girls on Film / Acceptable in the 80’s mashup
Save a Prayer
PHOTOGRAPHS DURAN DURAN – CREDIT: NAOMI DRYDEN-SMITH