"We just landed in a helicopter 10 minutes ago," Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor told Spinner from the VIP tent at Coachella, where earlier in the day a chopper had been circling the festival grounds. "Didn't you see it flying over?" He was, of course, kidding.
The '80s pop culture icons played Coachella for the first time on Sunday night and won over a younger audience during their main stage set. The performance featured songs off their latest Mark Ronson-produced studio album, 'All You Need Is Now,' mixed in with the classic hits -- 'Ordinary World,' 'Rio,' 'Girls on Film' -- that first shot the London-based New Wave band to the top of the charts.
For most people the most surprising thing about the set was how much Duran Duran still sounds like classic Duran Duran. After 30 years, 13 albums and several lineup changes, the roster had included all five original founding members -- singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor -- until the latter Taylor left the band in 2006. Since, the band has been trying to get back in touch with a younger audience and themselves.
"We kind of veered off into all these different directions," John tells Spinner. "Last time we worked with Timbaland and Justin Timeberlake, which was great. It's a whole new direction, but Mark said, 'What are you doing? You just want to be yourself.'"
Duran Duran took that to heart during their Coachella dance party. "The next song is about the effect girls have on boys, boys have on boys and boys have on girls," Le Bon told the crowd before singing the new track 'Girl Panic,' which flirted with the disco feel of early Duran Duran hits. The band also dedicated a song to late British film composer John Barry, who they worked with on the title track for the 1985 James Bond flick 'A View to a Kill.' The band started off with the instrumental version of the song before launching into their own version, while images of Bond girls were projected on the stage's giant screens. The band closed things off playing a cover of the Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face.'
"We've just kinda been off this stuff," John said of playing festivals. "It feels like the perception of the band has changed slightly. There are a lot of younger people getting into the band. And Coachella, it's a dream come true, isn't it? It's an absolute dream.