Duran Duran and Blondie Bring the Rapture to Cruel World Festival

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In the end, the weekend’s solar storm didn’t end up shorting out this year’s Cruel World festival at Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday (May 11). Instead, bands including Duran Duran, Blondie and Simple Minds lit up the golf course with a fiery musical energy that was all the more impressive for their long tenures. From Debbie Harry’s glittering cloak of mirrors to Duran Duran’s vibrant visuals, the festival’s more than two dozen acts showed they were consummate performing pros whose music remains beloved to their fans — not to mention still played constantly, whether it’s at Trader Joe’s or on the radio.

Duran Duran showed their staying power with a flashy, encompassing set that kicked off with “The Chauffeur” and never let up, with the familiar James Bond theme song previewing “A View to a Kill.” The band unleashed some fun covers of “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” plus a “Girls on Film” meets “Psycho Killer” mash-up with audience participation. Clad in silver jeans and his new wave-errific chartreuse biker jacket, Simon LeBon threw himself passionately into the set, striking a thoughtful note while dedicating “Ordinary World” to the people of Ukraine and also Palestine and Israel. After audience members lit up the sky with phone lights and sang along to “Save a Prayer,” Duran Duran capped the set with “Rio,” and it was clear that the band has been a meaningful part of many fans’ lives all these years.

Courtesy Variety