It is rare when Jason submits an article to Daily Duranie without a title…and when he does, I take full advantage. “Durandipitous” is my newest word creation. It’s not a word, you say? It is now. -R
I wasn’t going to go. The amount of Duran Duran shows coming through Vegas since Paper Gods was released had worn me down. It’s an emotional experience to dig deep into my soul and light the fuse of nostalgia. And tickets are getting out of hand in Sin City. The last pair of dates left a sour taste in my mouth with two predictable and pretty much identical set lists. I could miss this weekend and hold out for a new album and tour while saving up to someday get a seat up front.
A visit to Jeff and Jason’s pop-up shop on Friday got my juices flowing. Then, the Duranies met up that night at a Tiki bar and the cocktails started to flow. I met Larry, who first saw Duran Duran in Miami, FL on the Big Thing tour. Same as me! If nothing else, the Daily Duranie party on Sunday was a must for me. There is something special about the Duran community these days. We are survivors, and the band’s continued success is our sweet reward.
Playing StubHub bingo, I hit refresh about 5,733 times throughout the meet-up to no avail. If I was going to clean out my PayPal fun money for a ticket, it wasn’t going to be a standing room, obstructed view night. Honestly, seeing the passion and swapping stories about Duran was all I needed. Instead, there I was, watching everyone go into the show, ready to head home. Then, a Paper Goddess walked up and granted me a miracle. I was in. Not only that, I was sitting next to the curators of the pop-up shop and two of the most inspiring fans I know: Jeff and Jason. This was Durandipity!
Opening with “Hungry Like the Wolf” is a masterful stroke. As much as I love a moody, art-pop opener like “Paper Gods”, the energy of a major single sets fire to the room. The casual fans are instantly on their feet, which is essential to a good show. I’m not sure if “I Don’t Want Your Love” counts as a major hit, but nobody sat down after the opener, and the energy was building. While “A View To A Kill” isn’t Simon’s strongest vocal, he sells it like an exuberant uncle playing James Bond at Halloween.
If I came for one song, it was “Anyone Out There”, which had surfaced at some recent shows. The excitement of hearing that turned out to be just the start. I never expected to hear “Astronaut”, but the opening synth of “The Chauffeur” is when I officially lost my mind. It is the one classic that I never heard live, and I had not seen it on many set lists. The video cut out a few times so maybe the video engineer was even caught off guard. It didn’t matter, the pocket of Duranies that I saw the show with were singing at the top of their lungs and there were hugs and hi-fives all around. Next to “The Seventh Stranger” earlier this year, it is probably my favorite live Duran moment so far.
The surprises continued with a rocking “(Reach Up For the) Sunrise” with the “New Moon On Monday” snippet, but the “Planet Earth” mash-up with David Bowie stole my heart. As a music critic, my fandom often finds itself in conflict with the more honest and rationale side of my brain. This Duran Duran show more than satisfied both sides of my being. The band sounded energized, playing with a little swagger instead of going through the motions and the set list was a gift to fans. What a night!
The recent NASA show obviously served as an impetus for this short run of shows, but the thematic arc of the set represented more than that for me. As cartoon spaceman flew around the screens above the band, I kept picturing MTV moon men; the award given at the Video Music Awards in the 1980s. Perhaps they still give them away but I can’t be bothered to go see what MTV is up to in 2019. Still regarded as a video band by many, the band have proven to be so much more and all the moon man imagery of this tour playfully pokes anyone who would disagree.
It’s hard to choose a favorite set list from a band but Sunday night in Las Vegas is probably it for me. It delivered surprises and the band seemed to have an extra gear that, honestly, isn’t there every show. When a set list changes night to night, musicians cannot lapse into muscle memory and it leads to a better performance. I see enough shows to feel confident in that assessment. I count myself lucky to have been there singing “The Chauffeur” on Sunday night and even luckier to have found a tribe of so many amazing Duranies, especially one Paper Goddess who made it all possible. Thank you.