Review: Duran Duran Prove They’re Still Wild Boys at Eden’s BBC Music Day

Press

HERITAGE acts, eh? Making a mint out of dolling out the hits with a soulless lack of conviction to an ageing crowd desperate to relive their youth.

Well, that's many an act I could mention (including Elton John's lacklustre performances at Eden last year) but definitely not Duran.

The new romantic pop stars, whose flashy videos expounding wealth and excess summed up the 1980s, performed a vibrant set to top off BBC Music Day at Eden on Friday.

Their surprisingly current EDM sound (more David Guetta than David Sylvian) focused just as much on the new material from latest, acclaimed album Paper Gods as it did the hits.

Bravely, the core of Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor with assorted sessions musicians and backing singers started with the title track of the new album. Confounding many of the 6,000-strong audience, it was actually a pretty funky way to start giving way to a swathe of hits – The Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf and a superb A View To A Kill, reminding us they were responsible for one of the best Bond themes of modern times.

The middle-aged couples – many of whom brought their children – had a chance to smooch during Come Undone before a run of new tracks including the excellent Pressure Off, which is the equal of their '80s heyday.

The band looked great – John Taylor still gets the ladies swooning while Le Bon, whose voice was always an, erm, talking point in the days of Smash Hits proved he can actually sing if not dance; his moves were more "uncle at wedding" than "pop star at mega gig".

Planet Earth – from that rare period in their career when the tastemakers actually dubbed them cool – was sublime. Pop doesn't get any better, quite frankly. That it segued into a version of Space Oddity with their spiritual dad Bowie looking down on them from the giant screen, made the song even more special.

Ordinary World – proving they can do adult, epic pop too – a surprisingly muscular cover of White Lines, Sunrise, New Moon On Monday, Too Much Information (there was a sprinkle of hits from the "lost" years), and a banging, danced-up Girls On Film ended the main set.

The encore was mighty – with the staged bathed in purple and Le Bon claiming that without Prince there would be no Duran, we expected a When Doves Cry or Raspberry Beret, but no, we got a majestic Save A Prayer but with added Little Red Corvette interjections.

The night proved that Duran Duran – often mocked as a mere boy band in the past – have come of age and are now a live act to be reckoned with. A wonderfully evocative Rio sent us all home to bed happy, riding the bow of a super-yacht in our dreams.

The rest of the evening was memorable too – Laura Mvula, who joined Duran for an ultra-funky Notorious, proved mesmerising for many (though boring for others, it seemed) with her keytar-added cosmic soul. That Nile Rodgers – whose rumoured guest spots didn't happen, disappointingly – introduced her, only added to her reputation as a star on the rise.

Another female singer tipped for big things, Izzy Bisu, was a perfect way to start with her Amy Winehouse-lite summery sounds matching the glorious weather.

With One Show presenters dashing around, pop stars being interviewed across the site and what seemed like half the BBC's retinue doing technical things everywhere, this was a special evening which put the Eden Project – and Cornwall – in the national spotlight.

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Courtesy West Briton

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