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Duran Duran in Bratislava 2012 - Review

Duran Duran live, Incheba Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia, 1st February 2012. © 2012 Daniel Richter (the-richters-scale.blogspot.com)

Duran Duran, the band who ruled the 80’s with hits like Hungry Like the Wolf or Wild Boys, colorful videos like Rio or slightly erotic scenes from Girls On Film, has blown our minds away with their newest album called All You Need Is Now. And it really was all I needed last year. All the critics would agree AYNIN is a masterpiece. The icons of 80’s are now touring Europe and are as great as in the studio without a doubt. They played in Bratislava on the 1st February and rocked the Incheba Arena out.

It was my first show ever, so I couldn’t sleep. I can’t even express how excited I was. Especially the strings intro of The Reflex and band intros during Girls on Film has become something I’ve been looking forward for a long time. Someone’s said it’s more like a cheap party with karaoke. Are Duran Duran really playbacking? Well, they’re in their 50’s, so it wouldn’t be just because of the laziness or inability to play. But they’ve already proven they aren’t just a poster idols or an „album band“. They’ve been always touring with incredible energy of pop legends.

What surprised me was that the tickets were available even in my town. I was ready to travel to a big city to buy it or buy stuff from the internet for the first time, but I didn’t have to. Each of the tickets was for 45Euros, which equals 60 dollars (58 to be certain). My friends said it’s not much, because the tickets for German shows were for 55Euros (Hope I’m not mistaken). The tickets were beautiful (see the photos for details). „If the quality of the show will be the same, I’m more than happy“ I said to myself.

I arrived to Bratislava at 4PM with a strange feeling. Was I nervous or was it just a huge excitement? I think it was a bit of both. It wasn’t nearly as cold as in Czech Republic, but yet cold enough to have to find some restaurant quickly. I went to the Incheba Arena at 6PM, left my jacket in the cloakroom and bought myself something to drink. Are you wondering what kind of person is in the auditorium 2 hours before the show starts? Well, this got me a place in the second row, on the left side, right in front of John. It’s worth standing for 2 more hours.

Right in front of me, in the first row, I could see a 10 years old boy with his father. He was dancing to the AYNIN tracks later. That’s one of the best things for Duranie to see. I’ve always knew there must be a younger Duranie. And now I know who it is!

The supporting act, Lavagance, who’s been chosen by voting in the poll, started playing at 8. They were what I call a rock band with synths. They were actually pretty good. Honestly, I’ve never seen such a clever use of autotune/vocoder in my life before, with only one exception. I also liked the lead singer, who had his own style, matching the band perfectly. After 4 songs, they said we’re a great audience (we heard this a multiple times during the show, by the way) and said goodbye. It already felt great to be on that concert. Many people agreed the band could play longer instead on 1 hour long waiting for Duran Duran. Although I was a bit of skeptical, Lavagance definitely worked well as a warm up.

Setlist:
01. Intro
02. Before the Rain
03. Planet Earth
04. A View To A Kill
05. All You Need Is Now
06. Being Followed
07. Come Undone
08. Save (In The Heat of the Moment)
09. The Reflex
10. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
11. Girl Panic!
12. Tiger Tiger
13. White Lines
14. Ordinary World
15.Notorious
16. Hungry Like The Wolf
17. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise
18. Wild Boys / Relax
Encore:
19. Girls On Film
20. Rio


The next thing we could see on stage was a couple of engineers, preparing the stage for the main thing, Duran Duran. We’ve been waiting for them for an hour. I don’t know why, the engineer was tuning the bass guitar for like four times, but maybe there was a problem with something else.We could see Simon Willescroft waking on stage to bring his sax. He’s waved back to us. At 9:15, the orchestral interlude from All You Need Is Now started playing, as the band walked on stage. It took seconds until all hands were in the air and I couldn’t believe this was really happening. It was a Duranie dream coming true. Not only for me, but for everyone who’s been waiting 5 years to see them in Bratislava again or has never seen them, like me.

The actual show started with Before the Rain, which was one of the songs I’ve immediately fallen in love with when I heard the album for the first time. Simon Willescroft was right next to Nick, helping him with the synths on this one. I gotta say the sound was as great as on the album. For the next song, Duran has come back to the roots with 1981 classic, Planet Earth. Seeing John playing it live made me love the bassline even more. We could see him running to the back of the stage for the vaseline between the songs. I could hear hundreds of people singing along the whole chorus every time, as well as clapping during the break.

During the third song, Bond theme A View to a Kill, I’m pretty sure I heard a decent amount of people singing THE WHOLE SONG! When I took a look on the people in front of me, I noticed the young boy it dancing. This reminded me of being 10 and listening to Duran Duran with my father. After the song, Simon greeted us with “Dobrý večer, Bratislava! Dobrý večer, Slovakia!” and told us the only thing that matter is now, which is the message of the next song, the title track of the latest album. Though he’s switched the vocal lines on the end, he did a good job on this one. I also loved how John was hanging around Dom during the second verse. This reminded me the old days when he used to do it with Andy a lot.

It was Nick’s time after AYNIN to introduce the next song. He was talking about him having no clue Slovakia is so close to Austria and meeting with some Austrian artist in Český Krumlov. He also told us the artist was being followed for some reason, so it was obvious what song is gonna be the next one. I’ve never noticed how genius the chorus bassline is until that show. And the break with the last chorus was something which made me want to stay in that particular moment for a couple of minutes.

The next track was Come Undone. Simon said it’s his favourite track from The Wedding Album. I personally think he has a special relationship with it, because he’s written it for his wife. We all know it will never be the same without Warren, but Dom’s done pretty good job on his guitar. But honestly, I missed a bit more bass in this one. I don’t know if I just didn’t hear it in this particular one, or because of the fact it was originally done on the synth bass. I didn’t sing the chorus, although many people did.

After the song, Simon’s introduced Anna Ross for Safe. The excitement from this track lasted for the intro of The Reflex. It’s become a tradition that Simon choses one person from the audience to sing it and this show was no exception. The guy seemed to be very confused and surprised, but it would be perfect if he was a little bit louder. What I love about The Reflex intro is the synth part, which is basically a variation of the chorus part. It was also “our” song, because Simon let us sing the pre-choruses.



The ninth song was The Man Who Stole a Leopard, one of the best Duran Duran tracks ever recorded. John raised us to clap. We’ve taken it seriously, so he looked so proud of us. There was also the news story at the end. It wasn’t live, but it felt different in some way than the album cut. Both Jonh and Simon later said we’re the best audience and that they’re gonna come back for sure. I truly hope it’s not just an empty promise. After a really loud reaction to TMWSAL, fragments of Girl Panic! video appeared on the screen. This song was one of the most special moments from the whole show for me. Simon W. added some rocking percussion and drums and after the song ended, Roger started playing the beat again, being supported by Simon W. on a killer drum loop. What worked well with it were John’s octaves and bass pops, with Simon singing the line “It’s a Girl Panic!” and “forcing” us to repeat for like 5 times. They’ve ended the song with the regular ending with synths. It was something like they did in 1988/89 shows with Notorious and it was as great as that! I’ve always loved this kind of things, so for me the encore of Girl Panic! was an unforgettable moment.

Girl Panic! was followed by an instrumental Tiger Tiger played live. Simon W. kicked a** on his saxophone. Those who have Twitter could tweet so it’d be showed on the screen. They didn’t show the tweets though. I wonder why, maybe no one tweeted (I don’t think so).

After that, Dom did 2 steps forward and started playing the killer guitar riff of White Lines with Simon singing “Rang-dang-diggedy-dang di-dang”. We shouted down the “White…Ooh, white” backing vocals as well as the “Freeze….Rock” sections. On my left side, I could see two girls at my age (16-18) dancing and drowning in the melody. It wouldn’t be as nice if they weren’t dressing DD T-Shirts though. I swear nobody stood still during this one.

Simon calmed the crowd down with his speech about the unhappy ones, who are suffering from hunger, poverty, which led to Ordinary World. The atmosphere on this one was similar to Save a Prayer, with the audience waving their hands in the air. In case someone was thinking about the message too much, the band lightened them up with the next one.

It was Notorious. I think it’s became some sort of an obligation to sing the intro part. Even those who dislike this funky stuff couldn’t resist and this track made them move. And that’s how Duran Duran wants us to be. That’s also the reason why they put Hungry Like the Wolf right after Notorious. It’s no surprise everyone was singing the chorus along with Simon, making him harder to hear. We were almost as loud as him, I can say. We just had to show them we’re the greatest fans on Planet Earth and he wasn’t wrong when he said we’re the greatest audience.

As the Sunrise kicked in, we were clapping not only during the “Music’s between us” intro, but the whole first verse. Though most of us preferred singing in the choruses. Sunrise blended right into Wild Boys / Relax medley. I know many Duranies are also Frankie fans, so they’ve surely enjoyed it. I loved Nick’s synths during Relax part of the song and I gotta say Simon sounded great during the Wild Boys chorus.

Duran ran off the stage and came back shortly afterwards. Simon told us to “Smile because Nick Rhodes is gonna take a photograph”. Don’t you just love Simon’s introductions? Another thing I love is the band introductions and solos. What I loved the most was Roger’s drum solo. Then they’ve finished the song with the third verse from the Night Version.

The last and surely the best was Rio. It’s a classic that will never get old. The crowd sang the choruses and clapped like mad during the outro of the song, which was amazing! It was just like in Arena, the band stretched the “cold end” and left us screaming, but speechless at the same time. Both Czech and Slovak flag were thrown on stage to show Duran Duran where are the greatest fans from. He grabbed the Slovak one and posed with it above his head. “You guys are fucking great, we are coming here again soon” John added. Roger threw the sticks to the audience; the band thanked us for coming and left the stage with a huge applause.

All I Need Was Now
It took like 15 minutes after the people left the auditorium. I bought a wonderful T-Shirt for 20Euros and a calendar for 10Euros. I’ve never felt this happy in my life before. I already got a Tour book at home (Thanks Laura if you’re reading this).

I think the 10 years old boy from the first row will never forget this show. It was around the middle of the performance when one of the security guys went to him and gave him a drumstick from Roger Taylor. I felt so happy for him! The view of a young Duranie getting this kind of souvenir made me smile.

My father told me the concert was definitely better than the one in 2006. Allegedly, Simon looked exhausted back then. Also the mixing was great and the sound was rich despite soundboard recordings of some earlier shows. Duran Duran was always an act from heaven for me and this performance hasn’t changed that for me. The only thing that’s changed is my opinion of Anna Ross. I’ve always known she could sing, but for whatever reason I didn’t like her appearance. But seeing her live has changed it.

It’s definitely not true what some people say. Simon is still full of energy, dances and also does that famous jump after the break of Hungry Like the Wolf, John was cheerful all the time, with a soul of Rock N’ Roll star. Everyone could see the band is definitely in a great condition. So let’s hope Duran Duran will return to Bratislava soon, even stronger. Until that time, reminisce this wonderful evening. Thank you everyone for a great atmosphere. Hope you enjoyed reading!
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