Simon’s still got it. Very much so. As do John, Nick and Roger. Duran Duran’s show at the Eden Project
on 3 June, as the finale to BBC Music Day, was always going to be explosive, a combination of big budget production, spectacular backdrop and a crowd-rousing string of hits. What was less expected was how completely brilliant this band are 35 years after they shot to fame with Planet Earth.
They were massive in the 80s with their addictive synthpop (Wild Boys, Girls on Film, Notorious, Rio to name but a few) and their new romantic, ruffle-shirted, wind-tunnelled ways. But in their 21st
century reinvention they are one of the best live acts you could hope to see – old school Duran Duran meets The Killers meets Disclosure if you can imagine that. They seem to have become the ultimate party band.
From the outset we knew this was going to be the mother of all Eden shows. Pyrotechnics – think shooting five foot flames timed to the chorus of Wild Boys – light show, lasers.
But what it really came down to, I think, is that unlike other pop legends who, 30 years on, often turn out to be a bit of let down Duran Duran still deliver an immense performance. Great vocal from Simon Le Bon, brilliant guitar-ing from John Taylor and then those synths we knew and loved but had forgotten about.
Mesmeric, super cool female backing singers with incredible voices, that helped.
And the new material from Paper Gods, dancey, a little bit David Guetta, a little bit Rudimental.
There were a couple of tear-jerking moments, first during Planet Earth when Le Bon segued into Bowie’s Space Oddity and later when the stage was lit purple for Save a Prayer, a tribute to Prince.
Duran Duran saved Rio for the final encore – lasers, backing singers in overdrive, giant beach balls lobbed into the audience who shouted along to every word.
Not wanting to overstate the case - great night. Amazing venue. Epic band.