Duran Duran – PNC Music Pavilion – April 16, 2016 – Charlotte, North Carolina

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It’s hard to believe that Duran Duran’s approaching its 40th anniversary as a band. Critics perceived them as a “boy band” back in the 80s with more style than substance, yet here we are almost 40 years later and they’re still proving those critics wrong. As for their latest album Paper Gods, Rolling Stone Magazine said, “If Paper Gods were a debut from some upstart band, the buzz would be insane — yet this is the latest from a group that’s been reinventing itself for more than 30 years.” The band never really listened to the critics back then, but you can’t help but to thank there’s a bit of “I told you so” when the critics start finally giving them the props that they deserve.

There was a bit of concern just days before their show in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 16 at the PNC Music Pavilion as to whether or not there would even be a show given the reaction to the state’s HB2 law that’s been in the media so much lately. Some bands and artists have chosen to cancel their shows in North Carolina to protest the law and show support for the LGBT community. Duran Duran chose not to cancel the show, but lead singer Simon LeBon did make a slight reference to it early in their show and that it would be addressed later. It’s a shame that more people weren’t there when the Bag Raiders took to the stage because they missed a short, but very good set by this Australian band on the rise.

The legendary Nile Rodgers and Chic were up next and it quickly turned into a Saturday night disco dance party with such Chic classics as “Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love” and “Good Times.” We were also treated to tunes penned and/or produced by Mr. Rodgers including Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” (although I couldn’t help but hear The Notorious B.I.G., Mase and Puff Daddy in my head). They even threw in a partial performance of “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang! Duran Duran was finally up a few minutes past 9:00 and started their set off with the title track from their latest album which was an interesting choice of openers given its somewhat low and melodic nature. It was almost like taking a bottle of soda and shaking it up and then removing its top with the band’s second song “Wild Boys.”

The hits were in abundance as we were treated to 80s cuts such as “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “A View to a Kill” as well as later tracks such as “Ordinary World” and “I Don’t Want Your Love.” The band paid tribute to one of its musical heroes David Bowie when they did medley of “Planet Earth” and Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Another cool moment was when Nile Rodgers joined the band on-stage for “Notorious” and “Pressure Off” complete with a confetti shower that looked as if we were at a KISS concert! The band kept the pace between the song pretty quick and there was little stage banter. They finished their pre-encore set with a bit of a medley including “Danceophobia,” “Too Much Information” and “Girls on Film.”

The band reappeared for their encore in front of an American flag that shifted to trans colors as they addressed the HB2 law and equal rights for the LBGT community. “With respect to the current storm that is brewing through this state, we considered cancelling our show tonight, but decided to go ahead both for the sake of our fans and to support those in North Carolina who feels as strongly as we do about this issue,” LeBon said. The full statement can be read HERE on the band’s website. The band then closed with two of their biggest 80s classics “Save a Prayer” and “Rio.”

It was a pretty amazing show from the band as they looked and sounded incredible! It was a fun escape from everyone’s worries and troubles as it teleported us to an alternate reality free of problems and troubles. The light show was one of the best that we’ve seen from the band and we loved the huge video monitor that covered the back of the stage. The band projected very colorful artwork on it that corresponded to the song being played as well as showing live images of the band. I think a lot of the newer bands out there today could really learn something from this performance. This is how a real band is able to have a career as long as these guys have. You play real instruments, you’re very genuine and real about your art and you write songs that are able to last for decades. Do songs like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio” have deep meanings that will possibly save the world? Well, they might save it from boredom, but they’re songs that multiple generations are being able to enjoy and probably many more to come.

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Courtesy ImMusicMag (click for photos)