Duran Duran, on the Crest of a New Wave

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TO be in Turin - in concert tonight, 9pm, in the Medals Plaza - Duran Duran had to abandon the recording studio where they were busy on their second comeback album, the follow-up to 'Astronaut'. The reprise of the Duran Duran story, after their sad descent into tantrums and petty rows, is an unexpected and, at the same time, not unpleasant surprise. Just three years ago they had apparently been consigned to the twilight world of 1980s kitsch. Then came the revival fever and, suddenly, the 1980s were back in fashion. Simon LeBon & Co. are an eighties icon and Italy was one of the countries that truly took them to heart, all the way from their first LP, 'Duran Duran' and the famously sexy video of 'Girls on Film': it was 1981 and music videos were still relatively rare. MTV was going through its birth pangs and, to the majority of teenagers, was still unknown.

Duran Duran were surfing the post-punk (new) wave and to many, critics and music buffs alike, embodied something of the early David Bowie and Roxy Music. They were dubbed the 'new romantics' and the label soon spread to their great rivals, Spandau Ballett.

In Italy, authentic factions emerged, with 'duranisti' squaring up to 'spandauisti'. For the most part they were young girls, in a constant state of overexcitement, who dedicated every ounce of energy to the exaltation of those good-looking guys adorning the covers of the teen mags. They even inspired a best-selling book, 'Sposero Simon Le Bon' (I Want to Marry Simon LeBon), written by sixteen-year-old Clizia Gurrado from Milan which, in 1986, would even become a film.

Turin was a hotbed of cult activity and, in March 1987, a petition bearing 5,000 signatures, organized by fans protesting in front of the Town Hall, demanded a Duran Duran concert, complaining that the city elders were not doing enough to attract important artists to the town.
We do not know if that now remote episode exerted any influence in the staging of tonight's concert, organized at some point last year, but the same girls, just a score or so years older, will not be missing the opportunity to storm the hypertech stage of Piazza Castello. And if any wrinkles should slip through the makeup, they will be nothing compared to those of Simon LeBon and his pals, with the only risk being that all the enthusiasm might see our lads continuing on the crest of the wave for their daughters, or maybe even their granddaughters, too.

Courtesy La Stampa