GIG REVIEW: Duran Duran at The 02

By Carron Stacey, A Humdrum Mum

This is the seventh time we’ve seen them, I think (but that’s nothing compared to the 100 plus times I saw on a fan page today).

  • Read on for reasons including why Simon Le Bon was right when he described the night as ‘F***ing amazing’

Duran do have some following. I have a DD bestie; so off we went resplendent in our matching hoodies from their Isle of Wight festival gig in 2021, buying special Future Past/40th anniversary tour T-shirts from this time around. We’ve seen them in all guises, three of them, four of them – oh I can’t remember. I’m a first-two-albums-kinda-fan but wholly adore the ground they walk on.

Whilst my DD bestie had soaked up the set list from the previous concert in Manchester, I had only caught that they opened with Night Boat (from their eponymous first album) and had managed to avoid their press, wanting the surprise. 

With a stream of a spaceship coming into land to the tune of Velvet Newton, the band started with Night Boat. I’d read that this was going to be a deep set for the fans and this entree didn’t disappoint.

Straight into Wild Boys (which Simon said John wants to open with but it will mess up his voice for the whole night) and Hungry Like the Wolf, where could this gig be going?

Invisible from Future Past, their latest album name and this tour’s original name (the 40th anniversary tour seems bolted on) calmed us down a bit, only to segue into John Barry’s Bond Theme (“My name’s Bon, Simon le Bon” came a bit later) and obviously A View to a Kill.

Did we want a bit of No No, yes we wanted Notorious. The hits keep coming. The dancey Give It All Up (also from Future Past) moved into Last Chance on the Stairway, one of the amazing tracks on second album, Rio. Glockenspiels sadly overtaken by the sax, the soaring guitar solo reminded me in a melancholy way of Andy Taylor, who we’d held some wild hope/dream that he would be join in his boys in London. A very emotional song, with lyrics reminding us just how poetic Simon is:

‘Funny it’s just like a scene out of Voltaire, twisting out of sight

Cause when all the curtains are pulled back we’ll turn and see the circles we’ve traced

Ain’t no game when you’re playing with fire

It doesn’t seem right that we fight so the party runs on all night.’

Next up, Is There Something I Should Know; this is when the band were HUGE in 1983 and was their first ever UK number one. What could follow? Friends of Mine (first album again); I’m in DD heaven at this point. Careless Memories next, oh yes please!

I’ve heard most of these live before but not all together. Ordinary World pulls me out of my 11-year-old me’s head I’d been inhabiting – maybe I should just admit I don’t really like this song that much! But Simon loves it so that’s OK.

Anniversary afterwards, after all this is their 40th. Planet Earth, back to that important first album again. White Lines – not a total fan favourite but I love the song anyway so love them doing it. They always seem to have fun singing it. The Reflex is next, followed by Girls on Film, with their usual insertion of Acceptable in the 80s

The encore comprises Come Undone and Save a Prayer replete with audience lighters, I mean camera torches. It did look spectacular. Rio of course ended the set. 

I had hoped for a little glimpse of Simon’s Chauffeur hat, sadly not. I did actually miss Sunrise, Pressure Off and Tonight United, oddly for me as I’m always saying “Oh this is too new for me”. However this was a set for the old fans. It was also the best I’ve ever heard them play. Simon’s vocals were astounding, the band tighter and slicker than ever and Simon’s playfulness with the audience made a charming change from his sometimes lording-it attitude I’ve noticed at times. 

Simon said The 02 felt like home to them. With fantastic seats, we danced and sang all night, smiling and gushing as much as only real, old fans do. Simon, you were right when you said “That was f-ing amazing!”

  • Read more from Carron at her blog A Humdrum Mum
  • Main picture courtesy via Facebook Tickets Inset picture via A Humdrum Mum. Have you been to see Duran Duran before, heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this preview? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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