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Duran Duran @ AO Arena – a nostalgic night for 80s fans

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Featured image and gallery: Ben Redshaw

A nostalgic night for over 21,000 eighties music fans, Duran Duran brought back the rock and roll disco back to Manchester for one night only. 

Over 100 million records sold worldwide and 40 years of hits later, one of the nation’s biggest rock bands in history, Duran Duran are back and still touring the 80s classics for both the old and new generation to know and love.

The musical talent from the Birmingham boys shows no sign of age, and they brought a perfected show to Manchester on Saturday night.

The band certainly knew what supports would get people warmed up, with Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters as main support. This was a nice touch as not only can Shears put on a fun-filled show, but it was 20 years ago since he last toured with Duran Duran, making it a nice reunion and bringing back memories for fans who had followed the previous tour.

Shears got the 80s disco vibes going in his sparkly silver jumpsuit and performed songs from both his new solo record as well as the classics to please the crowd. He proved he’s still got fresh ideas and is a fantastic talent solo, performing exclusive songs such as ‘Last Man Dancing,’ which is to be released on June 2nd.

After Jake was a hit with the crowd, the atmosphere in the arena shifted and became electric and had almost a nostalgic feel, with everyone anticipating the arrival of Duran Duran. The four bandmates’ love of performing shone through as they dramatically opened the set with ‘Night Boat’. The Band played an impressive 20 song set list, including all the hits as well as some off the latest album, Future Past.

It is without a doubt that lead vocalist Simon Le Bon has still got it, alongside keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor. Duran Duran has plenty to celebrate, and the show was the party of 21,000 fans who have followed their success.

Comically, Simon Le Bon joked “I need an autocue” after he forgot the words to ‘Anniversary’, a striking hit from the new album. He followed this up with the popular ‘Planet Earth’. Le Bon boasted multiple outfit changes throughout which is a talent in itself. Playing the hit packed set and including songs such as ‘Girls on Film’ and Hungry Like the Wolf’. 

The band pushed on with a three-song encore, closing on ‘Rio’, a tune that shaped both the band and a lot of people in the crowd’s generation. Le Bon and bandmates looked rather moved as they looked out into the crowd of both an older and younger generation, knowing that they had made a historic mark on the industry. 

The four-piece brought with them two talented female backup singers alongside a saxophone player to perfect the live sound of the new wave, synth pop, dance rock sound, an impressive run of genres for one band to cover.

The stage setup only added to the performance, two collective interactive screens either side alongside a hefty one at the back, which displayed funky graphics to match each song and its meaning. My personal favourite was a bright pink showing old magazines and posters of the band in their younger days. 

Duran Duran are a timeless band, who proved themselves still as talented and on point as ever, giving the people of Manchester a nostalgic yet fresh fun-filled night to remember, veterans of arguably the best era in music history.

Jake Shears supporting Duran Duran at Manchester AO Arena

Duran Duran at Manchester AO Arena

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Emma Bayley

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