Duran Duran: the band so nice, they played the Hollywood Bowl twice, and then a third time—and each time to a full house. Such success is nothing new for the “Fab Five.” With more than four decades, two Grammys, over 100 million records sold, and having been enshrined both on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as of this year, Duran Duran has long since announced themselves as a global sensation.
Neither longevity nor relevance is a trait to be taken lightly, especially in a world where attention spans continue to shrink by the second. Despite being nearly 30 years removed from its last top-ten single in the U.S., Duran Duran has managed to maintain a formidable foothold on a music scene that, to a great extent, wouldn’t be what it is today without them.
The finale of the group’s weekend stint in the Hollywood Hills brought with it all the new wave wonder for which Duran Duran has long been known. There were flashing lights and thumping bass, along with occasional bits of dialog from lead singer Simon LeBon and outfits seemingly pulled straight out of a portal to the 1980s. There were cuts from the band’s latest album, 2021’s Future Past, including “Velvet Newton”, “Invisible”, “Tonight United”, and “Give It All Up”, the last of which features Swedish sensation Tove Lo on the recording. There were tributes to artists of influence by way of cover, from Grandmaster Melle Mel’s “White Lines” to David Bowie’s “Five Years”. And there were tributes to those in the wider world who were recently lost, including “Ordinary World” in dedication to the more than 3,000 victims of 9/11 and “Save a Prayer” for Queen Elizabeth II.
More than anything, though, there were bangers upon bangers, hit after hit, as Duran Duran embarked on a crowd-pleasing journey through the group’s extensive catalog. “The Wild Boys” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” combined for an ambitiously delicious start to the setlist. The band busted out the introductory graphics from the famed Goldeneye video game as a transition into “A View to a Kill” before bringing out Nile Rodgers to provide some additional noise and funk on “Notorious”.
Duran Duran even poked a bit of fun at themselves by closing out “Girls on Film” with a bit of Calvin Harris’s “Acceptable in the ‘80s”, thereby more than tacitly acknowledging the problems that some of their past work now presents.
For all the weight that can attend the creations of a band that’s been around as long as Duran Duran has, and for all the heaviness that the band willingly heaped upon its own songs, they still managed to keep the evening’s proceedings fun and fresh—not to mention full of fireworks. The finale of “Rio” was backed by a booming array of colorful explosives that at once accentuated and competed with the spectacle of sound and light onstage to close out the show.
Those who missed any or all of Duran Duran’s trilogy at the Hollywood Bowl need not fret for long. These Brits will be back stateside in October for a pair of shows at the Encore Theater in Las Vegas over Halloween.
Courtesy Live for Live Music