Duran Duran Edinburgh Castle
Star rating: ****
Thunder and lightning ripped apart the sky above Castle Rock, dumping a deluge on the midlife-Durannies huddled under plastic ponchos. But just two songs into the set the surprising appearance of galloping Rio album track Hold Back The Rain seemed to act as a supplication to the rain gods, and on cue the clouds scattered.
Despite the relatively modest stage set, Simon Le Bon's over-amped strutting pop-theatrics and the bombast of his veteran Brummie heart-throbs were undiminished from their 80s apex. Come the encore, whereupon Le Bon donned suave white tuxedo, a chorus-line of glitterballs twirled overhead and guitar-toting producer Mark Ronson and staff strummer Dom Brown chimed out James Bond theme riffs, the days of heady excess were revisited in full-blown glory.
Le Bon was in excellent voice, pitch-perfectly hitting the trickiest notes on Save A Prayer, although punchily-played cover White Lines remained ludicrous, bizarrely inciting the wildest audience reaction, alongside 2005 comeback single Sunrise. Most surprising was the reminder of just how eloquent their mid-period plaintive and reflective songs were. Smooth but moving, Come Undone, Do You Believe in Shame and Ordinary World welled with heart and soul.
Duran always immersed themselves in pop culture, from Bond to Barbarella to Mad Max, so samples from A Clockwork Orange, Scarface, Chic's Le Freak and Prince's Sign O' The Times revealed classic reference points, while Ronson's much-vaunted betwixt-song mixing gave the set a suitably retro-disco feel. Rio ramped up into the encore, which closed with an extended romp through Planet Earth and Girls on Film that was extraordinarily unjaded, bounding with energy and fresh, pulse-quickening thrills 30 years on.
By Vic Carroll
Courtesy The Herald