TVD Live Shots: Duran Duran with Nile Rodgers & Chic and Bastille at Capital One Arena, 9/13

After more than 40 years, the legendary Duran Duran shows no signs of slowing down. Not even a little bit. They’ve been touring to promote Future Past, the icons’ 15th album, since last year, taking a quick break to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November. Last month, they announced Danse Macabre, to be released in October, just in time for Halloween. According to the press release, the new album is Duran Duran’s “soundtrack to their ultimate Halloween party…threading together new songs, themed covers, and newly reimagined versions of their own ‘spooky’ classics.” Sounds fun!

Last Wednesday night, the band once known as the Fab 5, which is now just four since the departure of guitarist Andy Taylor (Simon LeBon, Roger Taylor, John Taylor, and Nick Rhodes) graced Washington, DC with a stop on the Future Past tour. The all-ages crowd got treated to new material while also dancing to old favorites. The fans loved it all. I was thrilled to have the privilege of photographing one my first true musical love and still one of my all-time favorite bands.

Boy, does Duran Duran know how to make an entrance. Emerging from backstage, backlit by a video screen showing AI footage of the band dressed as astronauts, Duran Duran stood at the top of a staircase, peering out onto the screaming crowd, pausing for dramatic effect before scattering to take their respective places on stage. Two metal “curtains” that obscured the drum kit and keyboards then were lifted into the air and functioned as video screens for the night. Graphic art and video have a major presence on this run of the tour—it’s fitting given the band’s pioneering use of the music video in the 1980s.

What followed was a set list that stretched to almost two hours, keeping the crowd on its feet the entire time, no easy feat on a Wednesday night. In 2023, they’ve incorporated several of their new tunes—including “Anniversary” from Future Past—with older songs from the early days of MTV. What a fun surprise for the set to kick off with the eerie “Night Boat,” released on Duran Duran back in 1981. If that weren’t enough, one of my all-time favorite songs, “Is There Something I Should Know” makes an appearance as well. During that song, the video screens played old footage of the band and displayed photos and covers from ’80s teen idol bibles such as Tiger Beat. For a few moments I swooned like the pre-teen I was when I first fell in love with Simon and the rest of the gentlemen. I suspect I wasn’t alone.

It was fun to hear two new songs from the upcoming album, “Dance Macbre” and “Super Lonely Freak.” “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” were the most beautifully performed songs of the night, the former being dedicated to the people of Ukraine. As is custom, Duran Duran closed the night out with “Save a Prayer” and the classic “Rio,” both from the band’s masterpiece album of the same name, Rio.

While time has marched on for every one of us, the band’s musical abilities are sharp as ever. Simon LeBon never misses a note, and the rest of the band are as tight as they have ever been. Whenever Duran Duran comes up in conversation with my crusty musician friends, invariably one of them will point out that John Taylor is a god in the bass world and a personal hero of theirs. Quick shoutout to Dom Brown for filling the role Andy Taylor vacated quite nicely, and generally being an all-around joy to photograph. Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor held down their end from the back of the stage, Rhodes peeking up from his synths to grace the crowd with his Mona Lisa smiles. Longtime saxophonist Andy Hamilton, background singers Anna Ross and Rachael O’Connor round out the onstage crew.

Nile Rodgers & Chic provided usual support for Duran Duran as well as British indie pop band Bastille. Bastille kicked off the night with an energetic set that got the crowd’s energy up for the rest of the evening. They’re back in Washington, DC on September 21, going from playing at Capital One Arena to the diminutive Atlantis, the city’s newest venue. It was a pleasure and an honor to see and photograph Rodgers, probably the coolest dude on the planet. He, along with Chic, got the crowd dancing with performances of Chic songs along with the usual roundup of mega hits that Rodgers had a hand in creating over the last 40 or so years (a little David Bowie here, some Daft Punk and Madonna there). The man’s career has been simply mind-boggling and he and the rest of Chic come across like they are delighted to be in front of a crowd—smiling for us lowly photographers and generally bringing joy to everyone.

This run of shows on Duran Duran’s Future Past tour ends in Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 23.




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