June 27, 2008
Rolling Out Red Carpet for Duran Duran ; Rock
By ALAN POOLE
WITH a dozen studio albums to sample, Duran Duran are not exactly short of material as they set out on a four-date UK dash next week.
The four survivors from the original famous five play the O2 Arena next Thursday, taking in Liverpool and Nottingham before ending up at Birmingham NIA on Monday, July 7 - remarkably their first-ever show at the home-city venue.
And as well as favourites dating back to their 1981 debut, they will be featuring songs from their most recent release, Red Carpet Massacre, which has been hailed by one critic as "their best album since Notorious" while another judged it "the strongestthing they have put out since The Wedding Album". So how do they decide which songs to cram into their set?
"This is an ongoing discussion that usually is still going on minutes before we go on stage," explains Roger Taylor.
"We have such a huge catalogue of work to pull from and we do like to vary the set most nights. We are also playing quite a few tracks from the new album but of course don't want to disappoint people by not playing the classics."
"I doubt if anyone would believe just how much time and thought we all put into each performance, which songs we are going to play and in what order," adds namesake John - "perhaps because it is the most powerful way of expressing 'this is who we are,right here, right now'.
"Of course having new material is important to us, as it freshens up everyone's sense of what we are.
"The fans are always very supportive of our new material - it's what keeps them interested. We would not have the dedicated worldwide following we have if we stopped recording new material and simply dragged ourselves around playing songs from the 80s.
"New songs such as Nite Runner and Red Carpet Massacre are a lot of fun to play and they change the way we think about older material like Rio or Wild Boys.
"It's not even about 'giving people what they want'. We couldn't imagine playing a Duran Duran concert without referencing our most popular songs - it would be like an Andy Warhol Retrospective without a Marilyn."
As well as presenting new songs, Duran Duran will be unveiling a cutting-edge show that includes a segment where the band play electronic instruments in homage to their roots.
"We're always trying new things, expanding our repertoire," explains John. "The electro-set was developed for the Broadway shows in New York - it's a 20-minute dance mix of songs we don't usually play and we all play keyboards except Roger, who standsand plays electronic pads.
"For me, a Duran Duran show is about soul - believe me, every show we do is a testament to our love for each other, for the audience, and for the music.
"It's about long-term commitment and a desire to transcend everyone else's expectations. That's the core of it.
Beyond that there is a lot of electricity, some high-wire juggling, the occasional pulled muscles, loud sound and bright lights."
Duran Duran will be joined at the NIA by The Long Blondes, the Sheffield band fronted by the ultra-glamorous Kate Jackson.
"We are delighted that The Long Blondes will be joining us on stage in London and Birmingham, because we have all been huge fans since hearing their first album," said Nick Rhodes.
"The Long Blondes have that rare combination of style, chic, attitude and a unique sound that makes them stand out from the crowd. Kate Jackson's vocals - particularly on songs like Too Clever by Half on the new record - are extraordinarily seductive andshe often reminds me of my good friend Debbie Harry when Blondie first came on the scene."
Tickets for The NIA concert are priced pounds 40-pounds 65 plus booking fees from www.theticketfactory.comor0871 945 6000.
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