By Michelle Duran (Daily Duranie Contributor)
On Monday September 14, I ventured to West 56th street in NYC to see Duran Duran at Terminal 5. While it was my first time there, Terminal 5 is a familiar venue to many East Coast Duranies since the band played there with Celebrity DJ Steve Aoki back in June, 2012 as part of Trident Gum’s See What Unfolds series, which featured interesting (read: weird) pairings of performers. After seeing plenty of Aoki videos on YouTube, I chose to skip his “Gallagher meets DJ” shtick while several of my friends went and ended up with green cake icing in places where no frosting belongs.
Regardless, the AMEX event promised to be a very different show, with DD’s core fan base at full strength. In fact, there were three thousand die-hard fans packed into Terminal 5’s GA floor and two levels of balconies, with a select few getting coveted seats along the VIP balconies on John’s side of the stage. The rest of us packed in like sardines in front of the stage. Thanks to those who heard snippets of the sound check that afternoon, we were eagerly anticipating new music and at least one deep cut from our favorite band.
Museum of Love, a New York City band featuring Pat Mahoney, formerly the drummer for LCD Soundsystem, on vocals went on stage at 8:15 pm. As openers go, they were good. I’d put them solidly in the middle of the pack for DD opening acts. The songs were relatively long – they played for about thirty-five minutes but only played about six songs. The music is sort of mellow jamming EDM, if that makes sense. You can listen to their self-titled debut on Spotify if you’d like to get a better idea. Throughout their performance, fans kept the party vibe going by tossing several happy face balloons through the air.
Once Museum of Love finished, the crowd eagerly waited for Duran Duran to take the stage as soon as possible. Finally, at 9:20 pm many who’d hope for a new opening song had our wish granted when we heard the beginning chant of Paper Gods as Simon and the other band members emerged from the stage’s machine made fog to play the seven plus minutes of deliciousness that is the title track of their new album. Even though it was only the first time live, it’s already evident that this song is a new favorite with fans and I hope they keep it as the opener for the West Coast shows. The band themselves seemed just as happy to play it live as we were hearing it. Simon was in full front man persona, enjoying the attention as he danced around the stage in a black sequined jacket and white jeans.
The black and white theme was well represented by everyone on stage. Anna Ross looked stunning in a dress featuring black and white angled stripes. The only doses of color were the red stripe on the inseam of Dom’s trousers and the hot pink screen-print of John’s tee, courtesy of a Punk Masters.
Next up was AVTAK, which they arranged with a little more of a Bond theme introduction than when it was performed on the AYNIN tour. This isn’t the full orchestral Ronson mix of 2009 but it was definitely a bit meatier than what they did in 2012.
Although I’ve seen complaints on social media that Terminal 5 doesn’t have great acoustics, I thought the band sounded terrific as they played both old hits like Notorious and new songs like Pressure Off with enthusiasm. They’ve now played Pressure Off on stage several times and it seems as though they feel as comfortable with it live as anything in their catalogue. In fact, they were in great form all night and you could tell that they were really enjoying being on stage.
After the perennial Amanda favorite (wink-wink), Come Undone, Simon made reference to how the next song was exactly about “this sort of situation” waving his hand between the audience and himself before launching into Last Night in the City. This is a song that grows on you more and more every time you hear it and it’s the perfect showcase for Simon’s voice which sounds stronger than ever. The soaring vocals were nothing short of phenomenal live and you could tell Simon was pleased with how the entire audience responded. LNitC is also a very electronic song. John plays only the keyboards, there’s no traditional bass and Dom really doesn’t have much to do on guitar. Regardless, John threw himself into playing the keyboards with his usual intensity.
The band returned to their roots with The Reflex, Simon leading the crowd in a longer than usual version of the Ta-Na-Na-Na’s and then immediately followed with one of my favorites live, Planet Earth. Next came White Lines and even though we knew the controversial water spit was coming, Simon somehow snuck up on us. I managed to dodge most of it but if I come down with a cold next week, I’m blaming “Lebonitis.” After playing hits Ordinary World, Wild Boys, and Reach Up for the Sunrise, the band launched into another song from Paper Gods, Danceophobia. Anna did a great job with the Lindsey Lohan spoken word part, working the stage. The song is another that strongly favors vocals and electronics at the expense of guitar and bass and there were times when John literally had nothing to do except dance to the music. I’ll admit this is my least favorite song from Paper Gods, so I may be biased but it didn’t seem to go over with the crowd as well as the other new songs.
There’s no doubt however, that the next song was definitely well received. A friend told me that Too Much Information was last played live in 2001, meaning that this would’ve been the first time Roger EVER played it live and for John, possibly the first since 1993’s OW tour. The absence of John’s bass on Danceophobia was ever more apparent when you could literally feel as well as hear it on TMI. IMO, TMI is one of those underappreciated third singles that never realized its potential on the U.S. charts. I thought it was a great song then and it still sounds fantastic today. From there, the band immediately launched into Girls on Film, again a change from the past few tours when GOF was always in the encore and always used for the band intros. They’ve changed up the beginning of the song. This version of GOF had a bit more of an electronic sound but John’s bass was still prominent. The band had the audience sing along with the chorus and once again, skipped the intros. GOF signaled the end of the regular set but after a very brief reprieve, the band was back with another fan favorite that had been absent from the last tour, Save A Prayer. Okay, anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite song of all time so of course, I was happy to have it back in the set. We all swayed and sang along as the feeling of being back where we all belonged – the band and its fans was almost palpable.
The night finished with a high energy version of Rio. I never want that song to end, since it’s always the last of the night and it seemed as though the band felt the same way with John and Dom both strumming those last notes as long as possible. As the crowd cheered and cheered at the end, John spoke one last time “We’ll see you soon” before the band exited the stage. I for one can’t wait.
Yes, there is YouTube video, check GothicblueCJ’s YouTube account for great footage of the show.