My wife and I last saw Duran Duran in Camden, NJ on their Paper Gods tour July 21, 2016. Obviously a lot has changed in the world since then. The absence of live music during the pandemic took a serious toll on my emotional well being, but once live music returned, my soul started healing. Last night at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD wasn’t just a night out. It was on par with a religious experience and a restoration of faith. Specifically, faith in the power of music and its ability to shine through the darkness, even at a time when it seems like the world has gone insane. For our family (me, my wife, and our daughter, who joined us for her first Duran Duran show) the concert served as an early celebration of my wife’s birthday and simultaneously a celebration of finally getting to see one of our all-time favorite bands in concert again after a six-year wait.
The evening started with the legendary Nile Rodgers and Chic playing an incendiary, soulful, joyous set featuring music that Nile collaborated on spanning his entire career. It was a hit-packed performance of songs by Chic, Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Madonna, and David Bowie. My wife and I had seen Nile and Chic once before at the same Duran Duran show that we saw in 2016, so we were already aware of Nile’s greatness, but as eager as I was to see Nile again, I was even happier that I would finally be able to introduce my daughter, Megan, to the power and the majesty of Nile live in concert. He did not disappoint, and he conducted a master class in live performance.
Nile Rodgers and Chic had the audience fired up and ready for Duran Duran. It was finally time for Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor (along with touring member Dom Brown on guitar) to hit the stage. The new song “Velvet Newton” played in the background as the band came out, and the boys hit the crowd hard by opening with a raucous “Wild Boys” which instantly created a frenzy. The evening continued with many of the Duran Duran classics that you would expect, and also a few that you might not, such as “Friends of Mine,” from their debut album and “Hold Back The Rain,” from the Rio album. These songs were a thrill to hear live and were superb additions to the setlist. Here’s the setlist as posted to Duran Duran’s social media after the show.
Simon had the crowd in the palms of his hands all night long. Ever the dramatic showman, Simon is in my opinion one of the all-time great front men in music history. It’s always a thrill to watch him captivate the audience while delivering masterful vocal performances of the songs we all know and love. John and Roger powered the rhythm section with their usual intense vigor that is the core essence of Duran Duran’s sound, while Nick embellished all of the songs with his trademark elegance of synthesizer beauty. I would be truly remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of Dom Brown on guitar, who plays gritty when that’s what the song calls for and still delivers elegant, melodic solos when required.
This show stands out as one of the greatest that I have seen Duran Duran perform and it was a thrill to finally introduce my daughter to the exhilaration of a Duran Duran live show. She had grown up listening to their songs because my wife and I played them constantly, and she finally got to see what all the fuss was about.
Here are some more photos and videos that I shot at the show along with a few shot by my daughter.