Duran Duran, a rock sensation in the 1980s, returns to the stage to sell his popularity in the UK and the US.
Bassist John Taylor admitted ahead of the kick off of Future Past, a tour across the UK and US, that making music with Duran Duran doesn’t destroy his body. “You don’t die on the job,” he said with a sense of drama. ,,It’s about the mess you make between concerts.” Tens of thousands of fans will have the chance to see in the coming months that the band members haven’t lost their strength in old age.
Hundreds of bands did not survive the hectic life of a rock star in the 80s. Exhausted, mentally exhausted and unable to adapt to the wishes of a younger generation, they disappeared. This fate did not befall Duran Duran. More than 40 years after its formation in Birmingham, their popularity and willingness to surprise audiences with new projects remains intact.
It smells like testosterone
A Telegraph reviewer, not a fan, was surprised by this. He found them “smelling of testosterone and vanity, shiny on the outside, soulless”. He described singer Simon le Bon as someone with the tone of a “douche” and “the emotional range of a newsreader”. Still, he admitted, Duran Duran draws crowded arenas, meaning the band “must have done something right” over the decades.
As predecessors of the New Romantics movement, they conquered the charts. The song Girls On Film did not even leave a famous resident of Buckingham Palace indifferent. Lady Diana called Duran Duran her favorite band. Undoubtedly, the appearance of the quintet played a role in this. Posters of Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and the three Taylors hung on the walls of teenage girls’ bedrooms.
Their lifelong obsession with fashion earned Duran Duran a few years ago in Milan the most stylish rock band. Collaborations with designers like Vivienne Westwood and Giorgio Armani ensured they never looked disheveled. In addition, they kept up with the times by not clinging to the 1980s. Where possible, they gave new impetus to their work.
The return to the podium was not easy. As befits a rock band, feuds along the way led to breakups. The launch of the Future Past album during the pandemic was to mark the start of a permanent return to the original line-up. Yet guitarist Andy Taylor is absent from the stadium tour which kicked off in Manchester last Saturday.
When Duran Duran was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Los Angeles last fall, Le Bon read a letter from Taylor. He said he was suffering from terminal cancer. The aggressive cells of his prostate gripped him. For this reason, he had to let the ceremony pass. “I had a backlash,” Taylor said. “Despite the exceptional work of my doctors, I would go beyond the physical and mental limits.”
Taylor will be heard later this year on the album Halloween, on which Duran Duran pays homage to inspirations such as David Bowie with covers, complete with a few new songs. He follows the tour from Ibiza, where he has lived for years. The group, which will be touring the United States for five months, is bursting with energy. Future Past is more than an attempt to complete the retirement pot one last time.
“Your passion doesn’t have to run out as you get older,” Le Bon said. “We are not too ambitious. We are Duran Duran and truly enjoy being Duran Duran.” In order not to be jaded, the group turned to Snapchat to add AR to their arsenal. For example, a giant spider crosses Nick Rhodes’ face like a virtual hand for the audience.
Performances at Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games have highlighted Duran Duran’s enduring appeal. At the same time, they are part of a trend towards nostalgia. Student pubs and bars are pumping out yellowed superpower hits every day. ABBA stands with holograms (“ABBAtars”) of the band members in London. Reggae band Steel Pulse, like Birmingham’s Duran Duran, are once again touring the UK.
Paul McCartney appeared as a headliner at Glastonbury, South West England’s mega festival, around his eightieth birthday. Despite his aura of ex-Beatle, Sir Paul can no longer compete with Duran Duran. John Taylor even appeared as “Dante” in the Devil May Cry video game. Duran Duran isn’t just “hot” among older music lovers. Young people also accept their extravagance.
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