Duran Duran – Live Review – Castle Howard

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duran duran live review castle howard

By Lisa Byrne, June 2022

1981 heralded an explosion in British popular culture which conquered the world on an epic scale. Brideshead Revisited – one of the most stunning period adaptations ever made – had its first screening, initiating a huge thirst of nostalgia for a chocolate box pre-war Old Blighty. But while its handsome lead characters Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder enthralled the older generation by getting drunk and falling into the fountain at Brideshead, filmed at our county’s glorious Castle Howard, the youth at the time were more enamoured by two other iconic characters, namely Simon Le Bon and John Taylor.

For it was in 1981 that Duran Duran first came to the nation’s attention with the release of their song ‘Planet Earth’, from their eponymous debut album. Not only were the five band members incredibly attractive (apart from Le Bon and Taylor, the group also consisted of Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor), but they were also supremely talented. Duran’s blend of electronic rhythm, throbbing drum and bass coupled with their dandy and unapologetically daring New Romantic look, turned them into overnight pop sensations.

duran duran live review castle howard gig

“Energy”

Over forty years on since these two iconic movements took the country by storm, it seemed only right that they should come together for one night only when Duran Duran played Castle Howard overlooked by one the most hypnotic sunsets I have ever seen.

Kicking off with ‘Wild Boys’, the energy emanating from the four lads from Birmingham (just missing the original Andy Taylor), had the audience in a state of elation as they went through their 19 song setlist – including classics ‘A View to a Kill’, ‘Notorious’, ‘Save a Prayer’ and ‘Rio’.

The iconic band launched its 15th studio album Future Past last October which included the sophisticated song ‘Anniversary’ and the group’s first ever collaboration with Giorgio Moroder on the single ‘Tonight United’. And the 10,000-strong crowd who descended on the grounds of Castle Howard revelled in the quintessential Duran tunes ranging from 1983’s ‘The Reflex’ to their latest single ‘Invisible’.

And it certainly appears that ‘Age shall not wither them, nor the years condemn…’ As John Taylor leapt around the stage looking like he was playing at a sixth form disco. Simon Le Bon entertained the crowd by doing his 360-degree twirls to huge applause, while keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor looked the epitome of New Romantic chic.

duran duran live review castle howard 2022

“Supermodel moves”

If there was a roof on the grounds of Castle Howard, ‘Girls on Film’ would have torn it off, as the magnetic sound sent the crowd into a frenzy of 80s supermodel moves while ‘Rio’ summmed up the yuppy style of Thatcher’s Britain.

The only hiccups on the night were down to the long traffic tail backs as well as the lengthy queue of people ‘hungry like the wolf’ for food, but in all honesty, the only appetite I possessed was for the incredible music which oozed glamour and style – from the mesmeric ‘Chauffeur’ to the highly personal ‘Hold Back The Rain’, which Le Bon wrote as a plea for John Taylor to stop his descent into drink and drug addiction.

So, on a barmy summer evening as the chords of ‘Rio’ came to a close, it was time for the world’s greatest New Romantic band to hang up their instruments as the crowd sang along. What a night of pure unadulterated heaven.

images: John Swannell

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