The thing that John Taylor, co-founder and bassist for British new wave chart-topping band Duran Duran, remembers about Bethlehem is the venue the group played at last year's Musikfest festival.
The first thing Taylor asks in a recent telephone call to promote the group's show April 2 at Sands Bethlehem Event Center is “Were you by any chance at the Bethlehem show last year?”
Told that his interviewer was, indeed, at the show, Taylor says, “I loved that venue. Amazing location.”
The location of which he speaks was Musikfest's Steel Stage, erected at the foot of the iconic rustin blast furnaces of the defunct Bethlehem Steel Corp.
The stage is erected each year for Musikfest's headline acts in the parking lot of what now is ArtsQuest's SteelStacks campus adjacent to the blast furnaces.
Told the location once was the site where steel for the Empire State Building and Golden Gate Bridge was forged, Taylor says, “Ahh, is that what it is? Right, right. Amazing.”
The show the band put on was pretty amazing, as well. Among just a handful of performances presaging the band's newest album, "Paper Gods," which was released a month after the Musikfest show, the show found Duran Duran fit and in fighting trim, surrendering nothing to age nor the 34 years since it became the prototypical 1980s video band and ruled the airwaves.
It played some of its biggest hits, including “The Wild Boys," “A View to a Kill,” “Come Undone,” “The Reflex,” “Hungry Like the Wolf” and, of course, "Rio." And it played them well – tight and sharp.
Taylor also recalls that, as one of its first shows to promote the new disc, it was an early one in which the band used a "visually integrated show ... in that every song -- every song – has a filmic video; interpretive kind of visual. And actually since then, we developed the show considerably more for the U.K. tour, and that’s the show that we’re gonna be bringing back this year."
Told that Duran Duran's was the best of the festival and among this blog's Top 10 Best concerts of the year for 2015, Taylor is appreciative.
“Thank you," he says. "Now we’ve got to out-show last year’s show this year. We’ve got, like – there’s a challenge there," he says, laughing.
Read a story about Duran Duran's show at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in The Morning Call's Go Guide on Thursday. And read a full transcript of the interview on Lehigh Valley Music.
DURAN DURAN, 8 p.m. April 5, Sands Bethlehem Event Center, 77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem. Tickets: $64.50 general admission standing, www.sandseventcenter.com, 800-745-3000
Courtesy The Morning Call