Duran Duran returned to Nottingham 35 years into their career to prove that they were not Paper Gods. The band played an incredibly successful show to a mostly full arena, despite the fact that this was one of the smallest arenas on the tour. The gaps in the crowd didn’t seem to affect the band though, playing as if it were a sold out Wembley stadium.
Openers Bloom Twins walked out in darkness to roughly 3,000 people, which isn’t bad for a group that had only released three songs previously. Interestingly they chose to play none of those three songs tonight. This decision paid off though, the band have recently written eight new tracks with Duran Duran’s own Nick Rhodes. The four new songs Bloom Twins played on this night were incredibly impressive. Reminiscent of Florence and The Machine surrounded by a vibrant electronic soundscape. Bloom Twins also performed an atmospheric cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy right now’, which went down very well as the pulsing synth tones echoed through the arena. I sincerely believe that Bloom Twins could be one of the biggest acts of 2016.
“The gaps in the crowd didn’t seem to affect the band – playing as if it were a sold out Wembley stadium”
During the short break the arena began to fill even more and Seal walked out to a hero’s welcome. The man behind ‘Kiss from a Rose’ brought a headline set to a support slot, and those lucky enough to be in attendance were aware of how special this was. Appearing to a thunderous ovation he stormed through classics like ‘Crazy’ and ‘Killer’, backed by a full band and a mesmerising light show, with a gargantuan screen behind him playing graphics to match the music. Seal even found gold with more recent tracks, ‘Padded Cell’ truly reflected the power in his voice. Speeches before songs often get repeated each night, but Seal preceded ‘Love’s Divine’ with a speech that could not have been given before. After explaining that the topic of the song was about a man’s discovery of the one thing he was missing, during a walk in a rainstorm, he was genuinely surprised by the audience exclaiming that it must be about an umbrella. Surely, if that speech had been used before he would have heard that joke a thousand times? Despite not using it close his fifty minute set, ‘Kiss From A Rose’ received a sing along from every soul in the arena.
Anticipation flooded the building as the audience realised they were about to see their heroes once more. The audience consisted almost entirely of those that had grown up listening to Duran Duran top the charts. The lights dropped, three faces appeared in black and white singing the intro to ‘Paper Gods’. The voice of Simon Le Bon cuts through as lights blind the audience.
“The man behind ‘Kiss from a Rose’ brought a headline set to a support slot”
Often bands of this ilk rely solely on nostalgia, and the new songs in the setlist become a chore because everyone just wants to hear the hits. Duran Duran do not fall victim to this. The most recent album has plenty of magnificent songs and the band utilise this well. ‘Paper Gods’ stands out as a well-crafted critique of a consumerist society obsessed with celebrity culture. Immediately followed by an impeccable rendition of ‘Wild Boys’ and a simple question for the crowd: “Nottingham, are you hungry?” Le Bon screams as he licks his lips, intent on watching the crowd explode.
The setlist consists of hit after hit, with each track played from ‘Paper Gods’ clearly belonging alongside every one of the band’s timeless classics. For the encore the band return to the stage with an explanation about their relationship with the Eagles of Death Metal. For those that are not aware the Eagles of Death Metal recently recorded a cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Save A Prayer’. This song was also the last song EODM completed at their Bataclan show four weeks ago before 89 members of their audience were killed in the terror attacks on the Parisian venue. Le Bon explained that every penny made from the sale of that song would now be separated and used to do something to help this situation. He asked Nottingham to raise their phones and light up this horrifically dark tragedy. ‘Save A Prayer’ became even more poignant with this impassioned performance. Finally the band closed with an extended version of ‘Rio’ with a wonderful saxophone solo. The band left the stage triumphant in the knowledge that 35 years into their career, they remain iconic.
Image via Wikipedia