Thank You for the Music, Duran Duran!
By Laura Borgman Pitts
Saturday, October 8, 2011. I wasn’t interested in attending Bayfest
until I learned Duran Duran was a headlining act and I might get to meet
the band. This reconfirmed my belief that life is sometimes a
combination of ‘who you know,’ ‘being in the right place at the right
time’ and occasionally just being ‘lucky.’
It was a gorgeous night, temps in the 70s at 9 pm when I accessed back
stage with my husband and a friend. We watched the band arrive and took
first place for the meet and greet. Whilst standing there, my mind
flashbacked back to the 80s and talking to girls about Duran Duran. Not
the recent Rob Sheffield book, but actually talking to girlfriends about
Duran Duran. Most girls had a favorite, but not me.
Here is where I confess to being a total dork. My agenda for the evening
was: meet the band, have a photo made and enjoy the music. With this in
mind, I stepped forward, looked at the guys, and had one crazy thought:
“Oh my gosh, they are so OLD!” Standing there wide eyed and mouth agog,
I am not star struck. No, I am totally embarrassed!
Yikes! I’m pretty sure none of them are clairvoyant, mild relief. However,
rather than introduce myself, I put both hands in the air and wiz past
them with a wave and silly grin plastered on my face. I am certain they
are thinking I’m totally bonkers, but there’s no retreat. I stop and
position myself next to the last guy, laughing. Duran Duran guy #4
kindly jostles me into position for photos.
The photos conclude and #4 is John Taylor. Security motions us to depart.
Again I put both hands in the air and face him and do another two-handed
wave. He is clearly amused and mirrors my actions. We do a double high
five, and I’m on my way to enjoy the show. Official after thought, I
have a favorite D2 member now, John Taylor.
Let me set the record straight: the guys are definitely not old and
crusty. It was the amnesiac mind of my youth that had tricked me and
preserved the band eternally as 20-somethings. Really, I do realize they
are in their 50s, and as such, they appear quite fit for their age.
Duran Duran is touring with four of its original five members. Simon Le
Bon with his casual scruffy facial hair was instantly recognizable. In
youth, Simon always had a slight softness to his face and rounding of
his belly that reminded me of a teddy bear. It’s all still there, and
when he smiles you just want to hug him. Post concert, my husband has
been performing his Simon LeBon dance moves - he sings’ “her name is
Rio...” and does a surfer / chiquita banana girl twisting pose - he says
that’s how it was done. He is correct, Simon never was much of a dancer,
but that never mattered, his singing is still superb.
|Photo Credit: John Montgomery
Someone has bleached blonde the front sections of John Taylor’s hair. We
would have called that hairstyle ‘wings’ in the 80s. His wings soared
effortlessly throughout the show. He is as lanky as he was in his youth
and taller than I’d expected. There was sincerity and warmth in his
smiles to the crowd. I’m betting he’s a bit mischievous and fun to hang
Nick Rhodes was pale in complexion with hair to match, he still favors
black eyeliner. He’s beyond the thin gangliness of youth, he’s filled in
the outlines of his frame and appears more solid. Nick’s been
photographing the crowd when the band makes its final exit. If you’re
near the front, check out the fan page and see if you can spot yourself.
Sadly Roger Taylor looked stoic, bored, tired or just ready to get the
meet and greet over with. Maybe we caught him at a down moment
backstage. It was difficult to see him on stage in the rear behind his
drums, but in photos it seems he brightened later in the evening.
Perhaps he’s a late night kind of guy.
Around 10 pm we were fortunate to locate ourselves in front of stage left
with a couple photographers, medics and security. We got a snapshot of
the set list from the sign language providers. Duran Duran is performing
almost identical set lists in the various cities on their tour and
simply mixing the order. I was hoping to hear The Chauffer, but no luck.
A glance around us at the crowd confirms we are predominately Generation
X, here to celebrate our youth and the happy innocence of the 80s. We
are definitely not disappointed. The show started with the crowd on its
feet, hands in the air, moving to the rhythm of Planet Earth. “Look now,
look all around...” there are definitely signs of life! And it continued
that way throughout the night.
The most recent single “All you need is now” was very well received, and
for me, even better live than the video I’d previewed online. It’s got
all the markings of a signature Duran Duran song. I make a mental note
to purchase the CD for my collection, surely there are additional tracks
on it that I’ll enjoy.
On stage, the band is joined by a totally rockin’ female percussionist
with flaming orange hair; a long legged lovely backup singer; a spot on
male guitarist and male saxophonist who sailed through the solos. They
know all the songs and are flawless in their execution. Closing our
eyes, we wouldn’t know that Andy Taylor is missing from the line up.
With more than 30 years behind them, Duran Duran’s experience shows. They
are old school, meaning the show really is all about the music, and the
music was brilliant. Moving from quick dance beats to slow and sultry,
none of the timeless favorites disappointed. Duran Duran is a well oiled
machine and shows no signs of slowing. One song slipped effortlessly
into the next and the night came to a close much too quickly.
Wild Boys, the first encore, was blended into a mashup by incorporating
Relax by 80s great, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. What a treat! Following,
Simon asked the crowd, “Where does Duran Duran go on holiday?” This
‘holiday’ question initially stumped the very American audience,
however, with prompting, “RIO” was the resonating chant. With that song,
for me, they once again became the four 20-something guys from
Birmingham, England, wearing colored suits with skinny ties, on the prow
of a boat off the coast of Antigua, the wind blowing through their hair.
A few days post concert, I went to the basement in search of my first
vinyl Duran Duran album, Rio. I dug it out of a bin and thought of the
joy that their music has brought to me. I’d like to dedicate a few lines
from an ABBA song to them:
So I say: Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be:
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me
I missed the opportunity that night, but I’ll say it now: Thank you for
the music, Duran Duran!