In August 1989 I had just turned 17 and left home a few months earlier, when I went to my first festival. It wasn’t a huge festival and it was beautifully located by a lake in a beech forest. Duran Duran was to close the festival Sunday afternoon/evening. The American blues guitarist Walter Trout performed right before Duran Duran and I do not think he has ever performed to so many teen girls. He had a puzzled look on his face throughout the concert. The audience was fairly quiet and did not show Trout much love.
My friend and I were in the first or second row. The only thing between us and the stage was a line of bouncers. I remember a Dutch girl who spent time chatting with one of the band’s roadies and I was in total awe of her boldness to do so and the fact that she knew them and they knew her.
I do not remember much of the actual concert but I remember Simon, John and Warren doing a strange kind of dance forming a circle. In addition, I remember them playing three new songs. The show opener was the then unknown Venice Drowning. What a strange show opener considering they were mostly playing to non-fans! Later came Yo Bad Azizi which was amazing live. For me, it pointed the band in the direction of the 90’s where the band seemed to adopt a more defiant and reckless attitude. The last new one was My Family which I didn’t hear again until 2020 by which time it sounded very different from the song I remembered.
What I do remember from this concert was my concern that Simon might not make it home to see Yasmin and the delivery of his first child. Beyond that, what sticks out the most was the contorted faces of the bouncers as they struggled throughout the concert to keep us at bay. This strange fan-bouncer dance twisted its way back and forth in front of the stage throughout the concert. Lots of things could have gone wrong. Nothing did go wrong. But I do believe the festival had underestimated the force of hundreds of eager teen fans and had taken little or no safety precautions. In hindsight this concert was special for me in that the band took chances compared to the first two shows I had attended in 1987 and 1988 which were more plain affairs. I mean – to play three unknown songs, none of which were hit material to people who had spent a long weekend partying and might be considering going home when Duran entered the stage. It was special because the whole audience, not just us in the front rows, were having a party.
As we left the festival, we talked about the new album and the coming tour. Little did I know that there would be no tour and that information about future tours would pass me by and I would not see Duran Duran live again for nine years.