There’s a real bravery in Duran Duran’s choice of support for the Future Past tour.
Scissor Sisters man Jake Shears is a famously boisterous and uplifting performer, and by the time he trawls the Sisters’ back catalogue with the likes of ‘Filthy Gorgeous’, ‘Let’s Have A Kiki’ and ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancing’, he has most of the 3Arena… well, dancing.
You don’t come as far and evolve as completely as Duran Duran have over the years without knowing what you can compete with, though, and this is, after all, Simon Le Bon and Co’s audience.
And compel it they do. “Dublin I wanna lick you. You make me hungry,” Le Bon smiles in front of a video backdrop draped in nostalgia, from Space Invaders to dark wooded walkways, as the band throw in ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ early.
From there it feels like a nicely spaced hit parade. Le Bon pauses to tell a tongue in cheek story of visiting Lisdoonvarna with a girlfriend in the late 70s, then throws in vibrant pop tunes you’d almost forgotten he owned, like a Bond-themed ‘View To A Kill’, and much-covered smash ‘Notorious’, drenched in attitude.
The key here, perhaps, is that Duran Duran are readily transporting, era wise. Sure, they demand phones up and lights on as they deliver ‘Save A Prayer’ in the encore, but ‘Ordinary World’, delivered with a vocal sing-along and assured confidence, gets a trip down the road to the days when it saved Duran Duran in the early 90s, Le Bon refusing to explain its story as he insists we find our own meaning.
If you’ll allow us a guess, it feels like the track was a prelude to the band’s anticipated fading away, something that never came. A nod to prep for a return to normality that was never needed, instead leaving one of the 80s great pop acts to live out their days on stage.
Which is not to say they’re fading. There’s precious little of new album ‘Future Past’ featured in the tour named for it, but instead we’re given what feels like the ultimate greatest hits set, an anthemic dance-along evening that, a few wrinkles aside, has the assuredness of a band far closer to their peak than most would feel this one is.
With sax solos and beautiful backing vocals, plus a tendency to play the whole two hour set at somewhere between a 7 and a 10 on the intensity scale, Duran Duran are lively beyond what it seems reasonable to expect, a boisterous outfit that you get the sense are sapping up this experience with a kind of freeing joy that makes them an absolute pleasure to watch.
The likes of ‘Rio’, ‘Come Undone’ and a version of ‘Girls On Film’ amusingly cut with Calvin Harris’ ‘Acceptable in the 80s’ (perhaps the only major nod to the fact we are no longer, in fact, in that era) are pure anthemic pieces of synth-pop royalty for a reason. Duran Duran are loud, slightly raunchy, and beautifully, brazenly full of it. In short, everything you’d hope for.
Courtesy Dublin Gazette