Duran Duran melds Future & Past with DC-area show

The soon-to-be Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members proved why they are still at the top of their game

Duran Duran wowed audiences with a spectacle of light and sound Tuesday night (Aug 23rd) at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. (Or, “Merry”-land, as lead singer Simon Le Bon called it.)

However, before the icons of the 80s took the stage, soul music legend Nile Rodgers, along with his band Chic, delivered a praise-worthy singalong. A headliner in his own right, the stands were already packed by the time he took the stage. Chic hit “Le Chic (Freak Out)” and “Good Times” closed a career-retrospective set for Rodgers, who has written and produced for everyone from Madonna to Daft Punk.

The hit-making new wave group — plus a touring guitarist and two backing vocalists — pounced onto the stage just after 9 pm in matching white blazers to 1984’s “The Wild Boys.” “Hungry Like a Wolf” came next, an early crowd-pleasing singalong. The 20,000 fans ate it up as if they, too, were starving canines.

Lead singer Simon Le Bon has arguably the strongest voice in rock music, and that was evident from the first beat to the last. John Taylor’s bass stayed steady through out. Roger Taylor’s drum kit along with drum machine gave each number that distinct European 80’s electro-rock that was pivotal in the DNA of new wave music.

But the backbone of Duran Duran undoubtedly remains Nick Rhodes. His keyboard motifs give each song their signature. Live, the guitar riffs can sometimes take center stage. But, stood at what can only be described as “Master Control” atop the tallest riser, the understated Rhodes played like a captain steering his ship. Whether the keys were front-and-center like on “Tonight United,” or tag teaming with guitars on “Planet Earth,” Rhodes knew how to give his the song exactly enough of his not-so-secret sauce. Make no mistake: Duran Duran music would be hollow without Nick Rhodes.

Their well-known aesthetic sense second only to their musical abilities, each number came with its own motif. “A View to Kill” featured classic Bond imagery, while the half-shouted “Careless Memories” evokes a punkier look on the screens. The jagged risers, too, lit up and played a key roll in the stunning light show that accompanied each number.

This tour is named after and in support of Duran Duran’s latest LP, Future Past. The Future Past Tour continues through September and ends with a run of shows at the Hollywood Bowl. Tickets are still available. Duran Duran will be inducted into the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 5th at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.

Email: matt@themusicuniverse.com