July 22, 2016
Playing behind 2015’s “Paper Gods,” Duran Duran took a jam-packed crowd on an impressive time-machine ride into the past — with some modern flourishes thrown in for good measure.
Entering as smoke and silhouette, the three remaining core members — Simon LeBon, John Taylor and Roger Taylor (the fourth, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, is not on this leg of the tour; TOKiMONSTA, who DJ’d to begin the evening, filled in) — launched into the song “Paper Gods.”
Though not as danceable as some of the biggest works by the ’80s British new-wave hitmakers, it was a workable entry point for an audience willing to raise their arms, sing along and sway to whatever LeBon and company came up with. The massive hits like “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Notorious” and “Girls on Film,” among many others, still sound like nothing else in pop.
Openers CHIC, featuring Nile Rodgers, put on a grand spectacle of funk, disco and rock. Rodgers has helped to produce Duran Duran in the past; bringing him back onstage for “Notorious” and “Pressure Off” was a foregone conclusion.
If the night began with the new, it ended with the familiar. But LeBon kept it sincere and current, talking about the strife and deaths haunting the headlines these days, and the need to keep positive and rise above the evil. Then came “Save a Prayer,” complete with a sea of cellphone lights in the crowd. It was touching and personal. Then came the intensely fun “Rio,” capping off a splendid night of music and showmanship.