By Dee Cooke
This wasn’t meant to be my first ever Duran Duran gig… but I’m so glad that it was!
I was originally meant to see Duran live for the first time in Dublin in June 2020, and then again a month later in Hyde Park. However, those shows were of course postponed to 2021, and then postponed again to 2022… so I’d resigned myself to the fact that I would have to wait yet another year before I could finally see my favourite band.
And then a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, these very short-notice hometown gigs in Birmingham were announced…
Was I going to go? Of course I was going to go if I could get a ticket. Hometown gig, check. Intimate venue, check. First post-pandemic gig, check. It sounded like the perfect Duran Duran concert! But I already had a ticket for the Andy Taylor gig in Newcastle on the Wednesday night, so it was the Tuesday or bust for me. Thankfully, despite a slightly stressful morning in the presale due to the issues with the website, I got my ticket with help from some very kind Duranies on Twitter, and I was all set for an unexpected trip to Birmingham!
Doors were advertised as 7pm, there were no support acts, and the band’s onstage time was advertised as 8:30pm, so I thought I had plenty of time. However, the queue was already half a mile long when I joined it at 7:10pm and it took me well over half an hour to get in! A good learning experience for next time… I don’t need to be right at the front but it would have been nice to be a little closer. (I hear some people were queueing about six hours early the next day… that’s dedication!)
When the band finally came on stage, it felt almost unreal to see the real-life version of the gig pictures I’d been scrolling through for years! Stage outfits were only marginally updated, with Simon still wearing lots of white and John in that pink jacket that he’s been wearing in every single promo performance. However, they look great and fresh and ready for a new era of Duran.
For me the setlist (which was approximately 50% ‘80s hits and 50% ‘other’) was a really good balance as I got to see lots of songs I’d dreamed of seeing. Personal highlights were ‘Friends Of Mine’ (a favourite song from my favourite album), new song ‘Tonight United’ (it’s been in my head ever since and is my second favourite of the so-far-shared Future Past songs), and the mashup of ‘Girls On Film’ with Calvin Harris cover ‘Acceptable In The ‘80s’ (a song I adore as an ‘80s baby)!
I’m still very excited for the open-air concerts next year, but Birmingham on the 14th of September 2021 will forever be my first Duran gig – and what a perfect first Duran gig!