Duran Duran at iHeart Music Festival

Raise your hands!  Who was up late last night anxiously waiting for our favorite band to appear on stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of the iHeart Music Festival, which, thankfully, was streamed online?!  I was, along with my partner-in-crime, despite or, maybe, because of my better judgment.  I wasn’t feeling all that great and had been up since 4:30 in the morning.  Yet, I figured that it would be a chance to practice for tour and a fun way to spend a Friday night as we hung out online, chatting with other fans through it all!  Oh, yes, we certainly needed to vent, to whine, to complain, to laugh, to talk about many, many of the artists appearing before Duran Duran.  (Seriously, people, can someone please explain Lil Wayne and his appeal?!  I’m not removed from youth culture as I teach in an urban high school but I still don’t get it.  To say that he is a misogynist would be an understatement!)  After what seemed like decades, at times, Duran Duran finally appeared.  If you missed the performance, YouTube can provide:

Want to know what I thought about this performance?!  I assume you do because you are here and still reading!

The Crowd

I truly do feel like crowds/audiences matter.  I have seen shows in which the crowd give Duran Duran a boost as if the audience was sending energy directly to the band.  I have also seen shows in which the crowd lacks excitement, bringing Duran down or making it REALLY hard for them to keep up their enthusiasm.  Then, there are shows like this.  The Killers played right before Duran and I watched in shock at how much they had to really push to get the audience involved and excited for even some of their biggest, most well-known songs like Mr. Brightside.  The audience wasn’t having it.  Was the crowd there to just see Kanye or to see Lil Wayne?  Clearly, if the Killers weren’t their thing, it was going to be super tough for Duran.  People were obviously sitting.  Even when the camera scanned for someone excited, someone who might know the lyrics, it seemed to be a struggle to find any sort of fan or positive energy heading Duran’s way.  It was upsetting for me to watch as I could tell that they were giving it their all.  I wonder how many Duranies actually attended this festival.  I don’t really know anyone who did and I have to wonder if that would have made a difference.

Setlist

Duran kept to a hits based setlist, much like the Killers did, frankly.  Duran played Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Pressure Off, Ordinary World and Rio.  I think it is pretty standard for bands/artists to play big hits when playing a festival.  After all, the crowd is not filled with just Duranies, but with people who might not know Duran or might not know them well.  Therefore, it is safe to play the hits as maybe some people will recognize them, remember how good they are, seek out albums, etc.  Yet, I don’t think that works as well for a festival like this one.  It seemed to me that most of the audience was young–far too young to know any of those hits, including the most recent, Ordinary World.  So, if they don’t know the hits anyway, would Duran have been better to showcase more of their new stuff?  After all, we know it has a very modern sound to it.  Could they have won the audience over somewhat with new songs?  Maybe.  I just know that by the time Pressure Off was played, most of the audience had stopped paying attention, which is really sad because it is very clear that Duran is loving that song and love playing it live.

Simon

By the end of the night, most of the discussion on Twitter began to focus on Simon and concern people have.  He seemed to really strain himself during Ordinary World and people commented about how that seemed to be the case during the Today Show mini-concert, too.  I have heard from other fans that they assume he isn’t feeling well as he was blowing his nose a lot during the show at Terminal 5 (Look for a guest blog on that show soon!).  I obviously don’t know if he is fighting some sort of bug or what, but I do know that I saw a lot of concerned fans last night who are only focused on Simon’s health and well-being.

Positives

So far my commentary has focused on some of the less than thrilling thoughts I have regarding last night’s performance but I don’t want to leave you all with the impression that nothing was good about last night.  On the contrary, there was plenty right with last night.  First, it was a heck of a lot of fun to virtually hang with other fans while watching and I was pleased to see so many fans join us despite the lateness of the hour.  Second, it is ALWAYS good to see a performance of Duran’s.  All it takes is one or two moments to remember why you love them so.  For example, seeing John, Simon and Dom in a row on stage rocking out to Wild Boys always gives me goosebumps.  Seeing the playful exchange between Anna and Simon during Pressure Off only increases my excitement in seeing that one live.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  MOMENT. of JoSi (John and Simon) or DoJo (Dom and John) reminds me.  Speaking of DoJo, was it my imagination or were there tons of DoJo moments?!  It felt like practically every song featured a moment or two!  As Rhonda and I were pointing out last night, those DoJo moments at the Bowl will be “sweet torture”.  We cannot wait!!!  Beyond all of that, the fangirl in me is forced to admit that they also looked pretty dang good last night!!  I might have squeed a time or two when the camera moved to that bass player guy.

Enough about what I thought!  What about the rest of you?  What did you think of their performance?  The crowd?  Anyone actually there in attendance?  If so, I would love to hear your perspective!  All I do know is that it is going to be a long 10 days before I leave for tour!

-A

5 thoughts on “Duran Duran at iHeart Music Festival”

  1. Since I watched last night, I feel compelled to leave my own comments.

    1. I have to agree with Amanda on the set list for this particular show. While I am fully-aware how festivals work, iHeart is very different because of the demographic that attend. The festival is set in Vegas, and this isn’t your typical Coachella crowd that attends. I think they are expecting far more of a wild party, and far more of the music that is actually played on more of the top 10 iHeart stations. That music doesn’t really include much of Duran Duran from the 80s or 90s, because the people who *do* listen to that style of music just don’t go to these festivals, at least not in the numbers that would make that music work. I think that they would have been far better off playing their new, modern sounding album along with a couple of other hits. I also agree with Amanda that even The Killers had their trouble appealing to the crowd. I have NEVER seen that band have so much trouble getting the crowd going and on their feet, and yet last night – the crowd just wasn’t having it. I was amazed. So when DD came out, they had their work cut out for them. They were struggling to keep the crowd going as it was, and Ordinary World, as beloved as it might be for fans, only sucked the energy that was left right out of the room. This is the crowd that Duran is desperate to reach, yet they really didn’t take the opportunity to showcase music that would have been of interest.

    2. All of that said – for me as a fan, their performance was phenomenal. I really wish that more fans had been there for them (I couldn’t have TOUCHED tickets for this gig though, they were incredibly expensive for rafter seats) because I think they needed the encouragement. They looked fantastic, and up until a moment in Ordinary World where Simon really sounded like he was straining his voice – they sounded fantastic too. I did notice that the keyboards (in the live stream, I have no idea how it sounds on youtube this morning) sounded off – there was one time where I could loudly hear the electric piano above everything else, which was strange.

    3. Then there was the interaction. The JoSi. The DoJo. This wins. Hands down WINS. Had I been in the audience, particularly up front…I fear that I would have gone down for the count. I was squealing here at home as though I hadn’t seen the band in years! It was great seeing them look like they were having fun, and I can’t wait to join in!

    4. Black leather pants? YES!

    -R

  2. Even Sam Smith, who I think is still pretty big, had a hard time with that audience. I’ve seen him live and he radiates joy at his audience, he didn’t seem very thrilled last night. That crowd was there for Demi, Lil Wayne (why?!) and Kanye. I so wish the audience got more into it, because the guys gave it their all and smiled the whole way through. Even with the wonky sound mixing, and Simon’s strained voice at the end, they did a great job. I love OW, but they should have done a dance tune. I think they went in thinking this an standard festival, this isn’t a festival, this is a Ryan Seacrest top 40 event. All that being said, I am so glad they were invited, that they did it, and that we all saved money and got to live stream it. 🙂

    1. I agree about Ordinary World. They should have played something else. I also agree that I’m glad that they were invited and that we were able to see it through the magic of technology! 🙂 -A

  3. I totally agree what you said about the crowd I have very upset and very sad for the guys ….
    Seeing some of them making “the queue” on Pressure Off was so stupid stupid is not the word rather “Ridiculous” will be better…
    For the set-list not surprised it was a festival… so… I’m curious to know the next setlist for the next “REAL” shows…

    1. The setlist wasn’t a surprise but it clearly didn’t work. They should have done something different than what they normally do for festivals. -A

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