Duran Duran – Live Review – Scarborough Open Air Theatre
By Charlotte Oliver, September 2021
The crowds pouring into Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre on Friday night were practically dancing already, such was the excitement at the prospect of seeing this iconic band that has kept many of us company since our childhood, several decades ago.
Duran Duran, giants of the eighties New Romantic scene, have never really gone away since. After establishing themselves with massive international hits such as ‘Rio’, ‘Is There Something I Should Know?’ and ‘Save a Prayer’, they have, in varying line-ups, recorded a new album every four or five years and sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide.
The support band, Walt Disco, were a clever choice; their New Romantic, foppish style and raw, energetic sounds was reminiscent of early Duran Duran, and the audience were suitably enthusiastic in their response. The swell of anticipation however, as the stage cleared in advance of the headliners, was dizzying. Masters at working the audience, however, Duran Duran left the excitement to rise and rise, and rise some more, before finally stepping out onto the stage, at which point 8,000 people really did turn into wild boys (and girls!).
Duran Duran opened the set with their latest single, ‘Invisible’, but it was when they kicked into ‘The Reflex’ for their second song that most of those in the seated blocks could no longer contain themselves and stood up to dance. ‘Notorious’ was next, much to the audience’s delight, followed by another of their new singles, ‘Anniversary’. This was the pattern that they followed throughout their impressive 18-song set – new material mixed with stone-cold classics. Many will have been there just for the biggest hits, which I must admit, were thrilling, but on the other hand, I can understand how it would be difficult for the band to maintain such energy and verve in their performance if they only ever played the same songs for four decades.
In saying all of that, ‘A View To A Kill’ was superb and had the audience leaping to their feet again, and the cover of ‘White Lines’ swiftly followed by the massive hit ‘Girls On Film’, went down a storm!
I have to say, they almost lost me in the encore when they started a cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, having still not played many of their own best-loved hits (including my favourite ever, ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’) but all was forgotten when ‘Perfect Day’ turned swiftly into ‘Wild Boys’. Their final encore, ‘Rio’, was a moment of shared joy for the entire crowd that I won’t ever forget.
Duran Duran gave an impressive performance. They are un-slowed by age, as fit and charismatic as they ever have been, and they played for a solid hour and three-quarters at peak energy all the way.
Simon le Bon, looking brilliant in his ‘nod to the eighties’ white suit, laughed and chatted with the audience, and the fact that he was almost instantly forgiven for mixing up Scarborough with Scunthorpe is testament to how immensely loved he and the band are. I will certainly be in the queue for tickets when they next come back – they left us all hungry (like wolves) for more!
images: Cuffe & Taylor