Gig review: Duran Duran, Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

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Gig review: Duran Duran, Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Published Date: 17 July 2009
By Barry Gordon

DURAN Duran delighted a sell-out crowd at Edinburgh Castle last night as part of the 2009 Castle Concert series.

One of the biggest pop bands of the 80s, and with more than 70 million record sales behind them, the band, led by Simon Le Bon, did not disappoint despite an early spell of torrential rain.

Right from the opening number, which saw Le Bon and keyboard player Nick Rhodes perform Wild Boys dressed in Clockwork Orange-themed suits and top hats, the retro New Romantic band had the entire audience – many of them wearing tight PVC trousers and shoulder-pads – in their pocket.

"Are you dry enough yet? Or are you getting wetter?" teased Le Bon, as he breezed through a hit-laden set which also featured songs from their latest studio album – the twelfth of their career – Red Carpet Massacre.

The unexpected downpour saw thousands of fans take cover underneath the stands during the first couple of numbers, Trainspotting author, Irvine Welsh, looking on from the dry comforts of the hospitality section. However, not even a good soaking could dampen the enthusiasm of several generations of Duran fans who danced, shimmied, and sang along all night long.

Later, the lush synth sounds of Hold Back The Rain had the audience seeing the funny side of this aptly-titled favourite, Save A Prayer cajoling the first big sing-along of the night.

Election Day, a song written in 1985 Le Bon said had never been performed live before, sounded strangely contemporary, while later on, green lasers pierced the pink sky like ethereal ghosts during an emotional rendition of Ordinary World.

The women's favourite and one of the youngest-looking 49-year-olds in pop, bassist John Taylor, drew the most admiring glances on the night; Nick Rhodes stuck firmly behind his keyboard thanks to what looked like a nasty left-leg injury.

Le Bon, meanwhile, was in his element: sporting his trademark blonde-highlighted hair, few middle-aged men wearing tight, white jeans can get away with dancing so badly while rapping on White Lines.

Still, when you're as popular and successful as Le Bon, such behaviour, along with dropping your microphone or letting a tambourine fall into the crowd, is easily forgiven.

The fans loved it, especially when quintessential Duran Duran single Rio finally danced on the sand towards the end of the set.

An encore seemed inevitable, and when the band reappeared – this time featuring pop producer Mark Ronson on guitar – the band wasted little time charging through classic tracks including Planet Earth and Girls On Film.

An impressive performance, then; while the sound quality was also very high, Duran Duran are not a nostalgia act. On the contrary, with current bands influenced by their electro-pop sensibilities, they've rarely sounded so modern.

The only downside was no second encore, but like all good bands, Duran Duran know how to leave an audience literally begging for more.

Courtesy Edinburgh Evening News