Duran prepare for landmark gigs

All press / news

Duran prepare for landmark gigs

By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

"To be quite honest we haven't really done any rehearsals," admits Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes.

"We're just going to plug in and hope we're good," he jokes.

He is referring to the group playing at this weekend's Concert for Diana in London's Wembley Stadium alongside Lily Allen, Rod Stewart and Will Young.

The band, best known for their glamour and pop tunes at the height of the 80s, are planning to sing only "songs that people know" at the gig.

'Very vibrant'

Other acts could not afford to be so laid back about not rehearsing, but Duran Duran are a band who started performing together almost 30 years ago.

They are the only band who have been lined up to play the memorial concert for Diana as well as the Live Earth gigs, taking place on 7 July.

She liked to laugh a lot, that's the thing that I remember - every time we met her she was always smiling and giggling about something
Nick Rhodes remembers Princess Diana

"They're very short sets for both of these concerts because there are so many acts on the bill. I don't think anyone is really playing for more than 15 or 20 minutes at the most so it's only really 3 or 4 songs," Rhodes says.

Although he sounds very cavalier about the event, it is clear from the way he talks of the late Princess Diana that he had been extremely fond of her.

"She was very easy to talk to. She liked to laugh a lot, that's the thing that I remember - every time we met her she was always smiling and giggling about something," he says.

He recalls one occasion when he met her at a film premiere, and the US president at the time, Ronald Reagan, mistakenly called her Princess David.

"She was very vibrant and full of life that evening. She did see the funny side of it. It was hilarious," remembers the musician.

'Occupational hazard'

So when Duran Duran were approached to join the bill for the concert, they did not hesitate in signing up.

They will perform their hit song, Rio, which Rhodes says Prince William and Harry specially requested.

"We are more than happy to play that for them. I don't know whether it's one of their favourites or one that Diana specifically liked, I don't honestly know," he admits.

Rhodes is just as passionate about being part of the Live Earth gig, organised by environmental campaigner Al Gore to raise awareness about climate change.

"We all have children and I think any responsible human being ought to step back for a few minutes and have a think about what we can do individually," he explains.

The pop star says he tries to do his bit at home by turning off lights, recycling and not owning a car - but admits he still has a carbon footprint.

"I get on planes and I go to America all the time. I wish there was a better way of doing that, but frankly because of what we do that's just one of the occupational hazards," he says.

He does think the concerts will mark a change in people's behaviour.

"If people actually start to understand the message of why all the artists have agreed to do it and why it is such a massive focus then I do believe it could make difference."

Once both concerts are over, the band plan to focus attention on their new album, Red Carpet Massacre, due out in November.

"We'll be doing our own concerts later in the year where we'll launch all the new material," says Rhodes.

Story from BBC NEWS: