Last night I saw Duran Duran play in St. Paul, Minnesota. I went with my friend, Robyn, who has attended Duran Duran shows with me there a few times before. We had a great dinner with some Duranie friends, a few of whom I had not actually seen in person since 2005! After great conversation, we were ready for the show.
Last night’s show, unlike all of the rest I have seen on the Paper Gods Tour, was inside an arena. Thus, when Chic and Duran played it was dark and all-encompassing as opposed to outdoor venues. I really appreciated being inside both because it was a heck of a lot cooler than being outdoors but also because all of my senses focused on the show, the performance, the stage setting, the lights, the video, etc. I don’t have the same level of focus outdoors. Plus, in many cases, Chic was playing when it was still daylight, which dulled the impact.
Anyway, I asked my friend to give me her observations of the show since she hadn’t seen Duran since 2011 and hadn’t heard any of the Paper Gods tracks live. She also had not seen Chic perform before.
Chic was a party, according to Robyn. She loved all that they featured different genres of music, including the Motown tracks. She felt that each member of the band clearly was the best at what they do. The whole performance just made her want to dance as she smiled throughout the entire performance!
Overall, she felt that last night’s show was the best she had seen Duran Duran and that it was super entertaining. She enjoyed the setlist and felt that it was well-balanced. She had zero expectations about what was going to be played. The setlist contained a lot of pop but still contained rock as well. She felt that the songs flowed really well and kept the energy high. The setlist felt very upbeat, more of a party setlist than previous shows she had been to.
The lights, the stage setup was great! Everything looked good. They didn’t overdo it, either. They could rely on their musicianship and performance as opposed to doing too much or relying on gimmicks. The visuals enhanced the songs and fit well, too.
White Lines was super fun despite the fact that Robyn was not down with Simon’s pink hat. Robyn loved I Don’t Want Your Love! It was definitely was her favorite!
She felt that they chose wisely putting Paper Gods in the beginning of the set because otherwise it would have taken down the mood of the set. She really liked Pressure Off because it is so catchy and upbeat. The confetti kept coming and was super fun.
The songs that they included other songs within like the Bowie tribute during Planet Earth or New Moon on Monday into Sunrise fit well. She recognized that the Bowie tribute showed both that he was a major influence but also a peer of theirs.
The band seemed like they were really having fun and enjoying playing together, which Robyn says that she hasn’t always seen when she has seen them before. Everyone on stage had great chemistry together.
Everyone seemed to work really well together, including MNDR, which was neat to see. Even when moments didn’t go as well for a second, the rest of the group was able to adjust and bring it back to high quality. Overall, the band just seemed to really enjoy playing together, which made it all the better.
I liked picking my friend’s brain about what she thought about the show for a number of reasons. First of all, Robyn is a musician herself and knows what it takes to perform live. Second, she has no stake in the review. She isn’t part of the fan community so she can be a little more objective than someone like me who wants the band to do so well all the time. I can’t disagree with anything that she said here. Obviously, yes, I realize that the criticism is out there about Duran not changing the setlist or not playing as long as they used to. I get those criticisms, but I also recognize and appreciate that the shows I have gone to have been good, solid shows. That is more important to me than mixing up the setlist.