WWriting about Duran Duran for an audience of people who read the music section of a free alt-weekly paper is what's known, in official journalism parlance, as "preaching to the choir." You are, I'm sure, already familiar with Duran Duran. You've sung along to "Hungry Like the Wolf" alone in your car, you have said, "My name is Rio!" while you've danced on the sand, and you are well aware that "A View to a Kill" is the best James Bond theme song ("Live and Let Die" is second).
While you, ostensibly music-literate reader, are already relatively knowledgeable about the existence of Duran Duran, perhaps you didn't know the band is coming to Ascend Amphitheater on Wednesday, along with Chic featuring Nile Rodgers (the last three words are the most important ones). There's really only one way to sell this: If you like Duran Duran or Chic (or "Get Lucky") you will probably like this concert.
Although you know the hits, did you know this: Rodgers has had a wildly successful professional relationship with Duran Duran dating back more than 30 years. He remixed the singles for the 1984 hit "The Reflex," produced the song "Wild Boys" and produced their 1986 album Notorious. Rodgers also co-produced not one, but two Duran Duran comeback records — 2004's Astronaut and last year's Paper Gods. This isn't just two nostalgia acts paired on the same bill to draw in fans of fucking awesome pop-rock as well as fans of fucking awesome disco — those factions have more overlap than condos and the color beige — these are two groups who created some of the most joyful music of the latter half of the 20th century, before the rockists showed up and ruined everything with their depression and love of old-fashioned gender roles.
Nile Rodgers had a hand in not only some of the best Duran Duran hits, but some of the best non-Chic disco songs of the late '70s and early '80s; the man is comically prolific. Recent Chic set lists have included Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out" and "Upside Down," and Sister Sledge's "We Are Family." These aren't just era-appropriate covers — Rodgers produced them, too (along with Chic member Bernard Edwards, who died in 1996). I've already mentioned Daft Punk's 2013 megahit "Get Lucky" (one of the best dance songs of the past, what, 20 years?), but let us not forget — Nile Rodgers co-wrote it. And next to producing David Bowie's Let's Dance and Madonna's Like a Virgin, that's only a minor accomplishment.
It's a nostalgia bill, for sure; don't get me wrong. But is nostalgia so bad? (Duran Duran will play a few songs from Paper Gods; this is The Paper Gods Tour, after all.) It's pretty easy to sit back and rip on '70s and '80s rehashers, but time will eventually make victims of us all — at least these bands have dedicated their careers to providing good times. I think there's even a song about that.
Courtesy Nashville Scene