Common People Festival 2016, Southampton

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Headliners (were) Duran Duran, a band who were the One Direction of their day, a globe-conquering behemoth, although self-formed rather than manufactured by any Dark Lord Cowell-type. In more recent years I’ve started to admire their capacity for continuing to come back with new material that actually makes an effort, that has zest and snap, something most bands of their vintage find hard to do, to recapture the indefinable something that gave their greatest work its fizz.
Duran DuranThey play newies, opening with the title track of last year’s “Paper Gods” album, as well as including the Nile Rodgers collaboration “Pressure Off” from it. Going back a bit further, 2005’s “Reach Up (For The Sunrise)”, with an interlude of “New Moon on Monday” and a gigantic confetti cannon explosion (pictured above left), is a set highlight.

Looking svelte and fit, chatting like people who actually like each other, laughing and bouncing about, they bring an enthusiasm to proceedings and, of course they bring the hits. With distance in time, and their tween-friendly rep long past, songs such as “Notorious”, “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Planet Earth!” – the latter including a tribute snippet to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” – are welcome pop gems, all boosted by large-screen LED visuals. “Girls on Film” is allowed full sway towards the end, a shiny, catchy sex-funk classic, which leaves it to the encore to give us the arms-around-each-other’s-shoulders singalong that is “Rio”. A high point to end a day wherein sunshine bathed all, and the 2016 festival season got off to a lively, likeable start.

Courtesy The Arts Desk