Duran Duran at the Echo Arena: Review

Press

John Taylor recently joked that Duran Duran were ‘knocking on retirement age’ before adding a ‘but’: “I’m fit, I’m happy, I’m having a good time, I know my job better than ever.”

And it’s true the four original members of the band have chalked up a total of 220 years on Planet Earth.

But give or take a few lines speaking of lives lived (and picked up occasionally on the stage’s merciless giant screen), they look fit, and they certainly look like they’re having a good time.

This latest Liverpool show, the first in four years and the culmination of their UK tour, was a case of a group of middle-aged men making an arena of (mostly) middle-aged music lovers very happy.

Still, the Durans have never been content to rest on their laurels, and their latest album Paper Gods, has been warmly received by both fans and critics.

The evening contained half-a-dozen number from the record, kicking off with the title track, and including Last Night in the City and the prettily melodic What Are the Chances?

They boast catchy hooks and choruses which are eminently singable in the moment, but which I suspect won’t have anywhere near the longevity of those classic, mostly 80s, numbers.

But the band is canny enough to know that, and the 21 – yes 21 – strong setlist, performed in a blaze of complicated lighting, video projections and falling petals, included a panoply of hits from across their back catalogue.

He may not be quite as limber as he once was, but they were still delivered in energetic full-on fashion by Le Bon, in fine voice and sporting unfeasibly tight white trousers and a liberal sprinkling of facial hair.

The Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Planet Earth and a souped up techno version of Girls on Film got a willing crowd on its feet.

Energy levels dipped a little mid-evening – the so-so Love Voodoo and I Don’t Want Your Love showing the sandwiched Notorious in sharp relief, while the reverb on drum and bass occasionally reached blurry teeth-rattling intensity.

Late on in proceedings, Le Bon turned all emotional, telling the crowd “it’s time we just said thank you for a wonderful career. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you” and leading the arena in a glorious sing-a-long version of Ordinary World.

There might have been no room for The Reflex, My Way or Careless Memories – and maybe one day they’ll make this middle-aged woman happy and play the acoustic version of The Chauffeur.

But Save a Prayer, dedicated to the victims of the Paris terrorist attack, proved a fitting finale.

And apparently the fans won’t leave until Duran Duran plays Rio. So it’s a good thing they did.

The evening started with the Bloom Twins, before Seal – who showed he’s still got the pipes – delivered a strong supporting set, including Crazy, Killer and Kiss from a Rose.

Courtesy Liverpool Echo

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