Photo: George Morrall
First Direct Arena, Leeds
November 28 2015
Words: Izzy B
Undoubtedly a large percentage of tonight's audience were once New Romantics, now well into their fifties relieving the 80s heyday of their idols Duran Duran. Surprisingly, however, the Arena here in Leeds also sports new - read, younger - fans who weren't obviously even born the first time Durannie fever took hold.
But over the course of two hours, Simon Le Bon and fellow band members bang out a set of such classic standards that even those still in their twenties and completely new to DD would probably have come across somewhere before - which may somewhat compensate for the now 57-year-old Le Bon possiblly having a 'senior moment' when he greets the Leeds crowd as though both he and were in Newcastle. 'The Wild Boys', 'Hungry Like The Wolf' and 'A View to a Kill' all come in succession at the start of the set, with a middle section of 'Last Night in the City', 'What Are the Chances?', and 'Only in Dreams' all coming from their released 14th studio album 'Paper Gods', which maybe don't quite have the same familiar, singalong appeal.
With the addition of another guitarist - Dominic Brown - a saxophonist and backing singers, the numbers on stage swell to party size, and a rousing cover of Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel's 'White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)' aides the atmospherics in line with video projections and stunning light show. The band all look the seasoned performers they are, with Le Bon and bass player John Taylor stamping out their one-two, trade-off partnership of old.
Before they start the encore with 'Save A Prayer', however, there's a moment of sombre reflection as Le Bon explains how the song has been released by the band Eagles of Death Metal following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Rhe deaths of 89 people during their concert at the Bataclan, and presses fans to stream or download it, stating that proceeds will go towards “something that’s peaceful, something that helps people” in memory of the victims. “It’s music that’s under attack, the idea of going out, enjoying yourself and having fun. We have to stand up to that,” he says. “It might be a challenge but we don’t give in. Never give up and never give in." It's a touching remembrance, and the crowd sing along with genuine feeling more than just for the song itself. Then, bringing old and young present together for a massive sing-out finish on closer 'Rio', it's all just as if the Eighties never went away.