If you were a fan of pop music back in the early 1980s chances are that you were either a fan of Spandau Ballet or Duran Duran. Fashion dictated that you could not be a fan of both groups, it was either one or the other.
Whilst Spandau Ballet might have split up for the time being, Duran Duran are still recording and touring. The band released their new album Future Past last year to high acclaim.
I never thought I would hear lead singer Simon Le Bon say the words “Good evening, Halifax” in fact I had to pinch myself it was actually happening as I stood alongside the 5,000 other fans at the Piece Hall.
Duran Duran in Halifax
The historic venue has been hosting a run of summer outdoor concerts over the past few weeks that has included amongst others Paul Waller, Paloma Faith and Tom Grennan, although the concert by Duran Duran was one of the most eagerly awaited ones to arrive in the town.
As Le Bon leapt on stage dressed in white, he stretched his arms wide to welcome the audience before the band opened up with The Wild Boys. Bass player John Taylor was always a favourite band member with his pin-up looks; even in Halifax he received a response that is normally reserved for the lead singer.
The set list read like a greatest hits album as the band launched an avalanche of hits in a show that was two hours of some of the best pop songs over the last 40 years. Their songs have stood the test of time as tracks like Come Undone, Hungry Like The Wolf and Ordinary World proved – the latter being dedicated to the people of Ukraine.
“What a beautiful place this is”, observed Le Bon as he continued by teasing the fans with “this is our last show in the north … for this year”.
Saving the big hits till last
The addition of a saxophone player added a new dimension to the majority of the tracks – when you could hear him, as on some of the tracks the bass was too high in the mix.
Surprisingly some of their lesser hits were included such as Careless Memory and Union of the Snake. The band were often underappreciated at the height of their success, though tracks such as these showed the depth of the groups’ song writing skills.
The newer tracks off the last album fitted in well alongside their earlier hits, Anniversary being a good example. Le Bon observed the new moon high above the Piece Hall which might have been an ideal opportunity to include New Moon on Monday into the show, though this wasn’t to be.
Saving their biggest hits until the end of the evening Girls on Film took the fans back to 1981, whilst the Piece Hall was illuminated as the fans held their mobile phones in the air when a stunning version of Save a Prayer was performed.
As Rio concluded a night of hits and new music, Duran Duran were as hungry as ever leaving the audience well fed with more than a careless memory.