Duran Duran Czech Republic · http://www.duranduran.cz/

Duran Duran Ė before the rain in Czech Republic 2012 - Review

Duran Duran live, O2 Arena, Prague, 27th July 2012. © 2012 Daniel Richter

It was about two or three weeks after the Bratislava show, when I found out Duran Duran are gonna play a show in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic. I was immediately forwarding that message to my father, who promised me that we wonít miss this great opportunity. The tickets were about the same price as in February, about 40Euro for each ticket.

I honestly donít care about sightseeing; I would be so bored since itís our capital. Thatís why an arrival 3 hours before the doors opened was enough for us. The train left my town at midday and after 4 hours of journey, partially spent with our Slovakian friends, we have arrived.

It was also the first time I travelled by subway. It wasnít really what I was expecting. I wasnít fun at all. It reminded me of travelling with my grandpa and his car, I mean the speed. Not to mention Iím quite claustrophobic. At least it wasnít a long journey.

Finally, we ďescapedĒ the subway. What was our destination? City Music Club, where we met other Duranies, who were just excited as us. We heard lots of different stories about Duran Duran and fans there. What got my attention was some woman talking about how her friend has pranked her with a Facebook update that Simon Le Bon has died. People are so naive that some of them has also written comments like ďwhat a lossĒ and stuff. I know itís so rude and I wouldnít like that joke made on me, but then, itís not for the first time, is it? I remember someone spreading a message that the fabulous saxophonist Andy Hamilton has died.

At 6:30 PM, we were already standing in front of O2 Arena, waiting for 30 minutes for doors to open. There were like 10 glass doors, so I could see like 15 or 20 bodyguards standing indoors. There were also frames to detect weapons and stuff. For a second I felt like being at the airport. The fact that many of the bodyguards looked at us like we were Arabian didnít help anyone to feel more comfortable.

I never thought Iíd be running to get a decent place, but we were fast enough to get a place in the second row, in the middle of the stage, just in front of Simon. The arena wasnít filled at all. It was actually half-empty. But that equals the amount of people who were in Bratislava. Ironically, there was less space than in Bratislava, at least at my location Ė I couldnít move at all. Two people behind us were complaining about our backpack. We had it on the floor literally on our feet. The funny thing is they had a backpack as well.

The supporting act was called Cartonnage. Itís Czech synthpop duo consisting of 5 members. They had 2 drummers like Sigue Sigue Sputnik. They were great and had a cute singer Ė a blonde girl dressed a bit like Lady Gaga. She actually looked a lot better and younger than on the videos on YouTube. They were singing in two languages. I honestly enjoyed it a lot.

After 30 minutes of fine Czech music, the stage went silent again and 5 technicians and workers started rebuilding the stage. The three (I think) Dutch women took some photos of them; I donít have a clue why. I could also see some similar faces, for example the black guy sitting in the back of the stage or the guy who was tuning Johnís basses.

It was also the time I really started to think about the setlist. Compared to Bratislava, The Man Who Stole a Leopard, White Lines and Being Followed got replaced by Save a Prayer, Careless Memories and Is There Something I Should Know? Despite the fact I love Save a Prayer, I was looking forward to Careless Memories and Is There Something I should Know? more than anything else. I was expecting them to be great, so I was also ready to be a little disappointed if it actually wasnít so great.

As it was in Bratislava, Duran Duran didnít go on stage in time. But there wasnít a single person who would mind waiting for a little longer. I donít know the exact time Return to Now started playing and Duran Duran went on stage, but people started screaming so loud that it actually didnít feel like being in the half empty arena. It was the first track and it wasnít even live, but I could say the sound was 100% better than in Bratislava. That multiplied my emotions during Before the Rain, which is great live. If they had a stereo system in heaven, Iím sure it doesnít sound nearly as great as this. Simon W. was standing next to Nick and helping him on synths, but what got everyoneís attention were Simonís gestures. Itís one of the reasons people love him so much.

After this one, we found ourselves in 1981 with an evergreen classic Planet Earth. The ticking sound on the synths sounded so full and thick and Roger started playing a groove similar to a night version of the song. And just as John joined them with the killer bass which sounded like nothing else Iíve ever heard, I was experiencing something which can be compared to an orgasm (or I should say eargasm). Iím pretty sure this is how the girls felt in 1984, although I didnít feel like Iíd faint. After this song, I changed my opinion on Dom and his guitar sound, because he kicked ass in this one. Although I never really disliked him; Iím one of those who take it just as it is. Whether itís Andy, Warren or Dom, I respect all of them as well as the other drummers or Wes on bass guitar.

At this point, I felt like having a fever and I understood why all the girls at concerts are screaming like mad. Just after the last note of Planet Earth, Simon greeted us with a great Czech accent saying ďDobrż veŤer, Praho!Ē which means ďGood evening, PragueĒ. But it wasnít a good evening. It was fantastic evening! Though it was nearly the same setlist, it was a completely different experience. The sound was a lot fuller and it was just awesome. I felt so happy, as the band has pulled me in to the dreamy world of Duranland. But wait a second! Whereís Anna? Sheís not on the stage and only John and Dom are singing barely audible backing vocals. Were the rumors about her pregnancy true? Or is she sick?

No! A View to a Kill ends and she walks on the stage. Luckily, Simon managed to hit all the notes unlike 1985. I think people wouldnít like the swan dive either. It sounded just as fresh as on the record. Thank god! The synths were quite ďangryĒ actually. It sounded like a real action movie soundtrack.

The next song was going to be the title track from the latest album, All You Need Is Now, which was introduced in a traditional way with the message about being present. What I loved about this one were the synths. They didnít sound as strange as on the studio recording. It was exactly the same tune, but it just sounded a lot different, or was it just me? I gotta say Iím starting to love this one after hearing it for the second time live.

Since the start of the show, the band was smiling, particularly John, and it looked like they are enjoying this show a lot. They probably didnít mind the arena isnít full. Well, this could be also because of the poor promotion. We saw just 2 posters on our 4 hours long journey and people didnít have any trouble buying the tickets and hour before the show. What a shame Czech republic doesnít have more devoted fans. On the other hand, it seemed like everyone in the band loved Prague.

And here comes my favorite part of the show. Simon walks off the stage and tries to find a Czech guy who can sing. He ends up with four guys and tells Nick to play the chorus riff of The Reflex. Iíve always wanted to play synths, so I donít have to mention I was in heaven when Nick started playing it, and itís also my favorite tune. Itís the chorus tune actually. Itís there even on the single version released back in 1984. Well, I also didnít notice earlier. I think this was the first time more people sang it together.

After a couple of repeats, other have joined the guys and Simon walked to the left side with his microphone directed to us and just as he saw a 4-5 years old girl in the second row, sitting on her fatherís neck, he let her sing it once as well. The girl was speaking English and she seemed to be a big fan. It was a great moment; I felt so happy for her. It was about the same time a 16 or 17 years old girl moves right next to us and stays there for the rest of the show. The Reflex is definitely a fun song. You donít have to think about the lyrics much; the melody just catches you and stays in your head for the rest of your life. Except for the synths in the chorus, I kinda enjoyed the break and singing the pre-chorus. I love the distorted ďwhyísĒ by Nick though I didnít understand the next thing he said.

That girl next to us was really enjoying the next song Ė Come Undone. A lot of people say it should be replaced by something else. At least this time, the Domís guitar wasnít as quiet as in Slovakia. I honestly donít mind it being in the setlist, though I would enjoy something more upbeat or less known, for example Late Bar or My Own Way. Iíve always liked Come Undone, but for some reason, I gotta agree they should leave it. What I loved about this were Annaís outstanding backing vocals and Simonís little bit of harmony at the end (I mean the ďdo-doísĒ) and I also felt happy for Simon as he hit the high notes like they were nothing. She did a great job on this one. And she kept on the same way on the next piece - the song which is just as funky as Notorious; but a lot newer one Ė Safe.

She nearly overcame the original vocalist Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters. Yes, the original will remain the best, but itís time to admit Iíve always hated Anna Rossí backing vocals on this one. But again, itís a completely different experience live, so I donít think this would surprise anyone. Johnís also said this song is so much fun to play and everyone could see it. He was really enjoying playing his groove on this one. I also kinda enjoy Simonís spontaneous lyrics during the break of this track in various live recordings and this concert wasnít an exception.

And here comes the huge hit Ė the stage becomes silent for a couple of seconds and then, supported by Roger on drums, Simonís becomes singing the famous line ďPlease, please, tell me now!Ē and I was like ďOh, my god! Itís here!Ē and I was nearly fangirling. Did I tell you Iíve always wanted to play synths? Along with The Reflex, this is also my favorite tune when it comes to synths. And they were so prominent during this one! HEAVEN! And the crowd went crazy just like it was 1984. If there was the same amount of people, Iím pretty sure the atmosphere would be as great as in that era. I honestly wished this one would never end. It just felt like shouting along the chorus wasnít enough, it made all of us move. This was really one of the best Duran Duran moments Iíve ever had.

Yes, Duran Duran is really the band designed to make us party. And the party continued with another real party piece Ė Girl Panic! It started in a classic way with the video on the screen. Unlike the original intro of this one, there were also photographs similar to Girls on Film intro. I was hoping for the encore at the end as we heard it in earlier shows and after the regular song ended, a model from the video appeared on the screen saying ďThatís Rock Ďní Roll!Ē and everyone there wouldnít say itís not. And I gotta say the encore was a pure rock and roll. I personally always enjoy this kind of stuff, whether itís this jam or the band intros and stuff.

The energy was just incredible, so it was clever enough to put Save a Prayer on this place in the setlist. It was the right time to cool us down a little bit. Simonís got his acoustic guitar, so at this point, even the ones who didnít know the setlist knew what is gonna happen. The intro sequence is just magical and that magic hit us in its full form. It felt like a dream, because it was too good to be true. It was one of those moments when you stop thinking of all the bad stuff and just enjoy the music in its purest form. Itís truly one of those songs that you have a smile on your face whenever you hear it. Other times it makes you feel so special you actually wanna cry. And these emotions are multiplied by hearing it live.

But we didnít have time to cry, because the next piece was from the funkier part of Duran Duranís catalogue. A lot of fans would rather hear Skin Trade, but we were fined with the title track from the Notorious album. Iíll never forget the sound of Andyís guitars during this one at Personal Fest in Buenos Aires in 2005, but Dom did a decent job and even if he failed, there will always be Nick to save him by playing the same tune on the keyboards. This performance was pretty enjoyable, but nothing special on the other hand. Maybe if I didnít listen to this one so much, I would feel different about this one.

But the next song, Careless Memories will be something I will never forget. Though I thought it canít be better than the Arena semi-live version and the version from Live from London, I was expecting it to be at least this good. And it really was; it was actually closer to the original version than the performance on Arena. It was angry and dark enough just as itís meant to be, but it still had its pop spirit. What I loved were the synths during the break (yeah, the thing Nick didnít play on Arena). Iíve always loved this song, because itís got a great rhythm track; Johnís bass is simply awesome when you explore this song a little bit more. I was having so much fun it didnít feel like the twelfth song was endingÖ

I felt incredibly happy. Iím sure a lot of people will call me a bad Duranie, but when lately Iím not quite keen on the next song Ė Ordinary World. Itís temporary because I was listening to it so much it got overplayed. It was a great experience hearing it live, but not as great as Careless Memories, at least for me. On the other hand, the cute girl next to me was excited on this one. I also gotta admit the Simonís high notes at the end, during ďAny world is my worldĒ part, were sung just perfectly. It was as perfect as on the original record.

And here comes the final part of the show filled with energic songs. First of them was Hungry like the Wolf. Although itís been in the setlist basically since it was released, itís not so overplayed. The reason is weíve heard like 4 different arrangements. This one is also slightly different to the original version, just like in case of Planet Earth. Roger started playing the groove with the fills on the electronic drums, which sounded so cool I couldnít believe my ears. Another thing that surprised me was Dom guitar on this one. This was probably the first time I didnít think of Andy coming back when hearing this track. Iím simply starting to like Dom more and more. And Iím also sure Iím right when Iíll say everyone enjoyed singing the ďdo-doĒ parts.

It also seems like everyone loved the next song, which was Sunrise. Not only music was between us, but also a light from Simonís big mirror. Iíve always loved the way Andy played this one, but Dom did an amazing job on it. Some people say itís one of the best Duran Duran songs ever; I was never a huge fan of this song, but I was singing the choruses anyway Ė I just couldnít resist. I also think this song means something completely different to me than to anyone else. For me, itís about not missing a chance, a moment which will never happen again and about not losing your chance to touch the sky and feel great. So itís an important message for anyone, who feels down.

The last song before the band left the stage for the first time was Wild Boys mixed with Frankie Goes to Hollywoodís Relax. I heard it in a fanmade mix two or three years ago. This makes me wonder Ė did the band hear the mix and decided to move it to a more professional way? Another thing I was wondering about was the long version of Notorious they did on SWU Festival in Brazil last year. Simon W. played a riff on his sax which was also a part of fanmade mix of Notorious. So thereís a chance the band listens to our mixes and stuff.

I like this version of Wild Boys much more than the album version. Maybe itís me, but I think Simon doesnít sing the chorus so high and it sounds better in my opinion. Itís simply my favorite version of the song. Not to mention Relax, which is one of the three FGTH songs I like. The synths mostly do it for me. Nothing can beat the original and I also have to mention we went to this show to hear Duran Duranís hits, not this one, but I like the original. Itís a cover in its finest form and the band is having a great time playing it as well. And Simon let us sing a chorus of Wild Boys as well.

After the song ended, the band left the stage but everyone knew the show canít end without Girls on Film and Rio (or at least Rio). Iím a great fan of long versions and I enjoy the band introductions as well, so I loved Girls on Film. Roger did a great solo on drums as always, and also Simon was interacting with us a lot more than in February. We ďhad toĒ repeat after him, he also made us shout ďPlay the fuckiní bass, JohnĒ and then he chose a Czech woman to introduce him in Czech language. I gotta say she did a great job introducing Simon. Except for that introduction part, it was an ordinary version of Girls on Film, except for the extraordinary sound of the arena.

The last six or seven minutes belonged to Rio. I know itís been said a million times, but this song has the coolest groove ever! Itís so cool that it would make a paralytic person move. It didnít work for the security, but thatís not a surprise really. Rio is also known for one of the best sax solos of the 80ís. Whenever you turn on the radio just as the solo is playing, it doesnít take you more than 2 seconds to realize the track youíre listening to is Duran Duranís Rio.

My last bits of energy were gone after Iíve sang or I should say shouted along the chorus. It also had one of the coolest cold ends Iíve ever heard. It was like when the New Yearís Eve fireworks end.

The band is leaving the stage and I feel so happy I can die. All of them looked my way at different points during the show, except for Roger, obviously. The same band, nearly the same setlist, but completely different experience compared to February. After the show, I went to buy a T-Shirt and I was a little disappointed they donít sell the Girl Panic T-Shirt anymore, so I had to grab another one. It was more expensive than I expected (I thought it was gonna cost approximately the same amount as in February in Slovakia), but what could I do. Itís Duran Duran and I desperately wanted that T-Shirt. It wasnít a gift for my bad marks, but definitely a gift for being a devoted Duranie.

After the show, we went to the club again; we talked about Diamond in the Mind and so much more as the Rio, Notorious and the first album played. We took some more photos, some of the fans got themselves something to eat and others bought some beer or drinks. I also managed to get a big poster (thanks, Roman), so after I re-decorate my room, Iíll place it above my bed. At about 1AM or 2AM, we decided to leave. Our friend Roman gave us a lift for the part of our journey back. We travelled with the same friends as we arrived + Roman as a driver, obviously. Duran Duran was playing in the radio (no, we didnít have enough that day), and I slept for a couple of minutes. Then we took the first train home. I wasnít exhausted as much as I thought Iíd be. The short power nap was very effective.

And thatís my story about Duran Duran in Czech Republic. Hope you enjoyed reading, thank you.

00. Intro (Return to Now)
01. Before The Rain
02. Planet Earth
03. A View To A Kill
04. All You Need Is Now
05. The Reflex
06. Come Undone
07. Safe
08. Is There Something I Should Know?
09. Girl Panic!
10. Save A Prayer
11. Notorious
12. Careless Memories
13. Ordinary World
14. Hungry Like the Wolf
15. Sunrise
16. Wild Boys / Relax
17. Girls on Film + Band Intros
18. Rio
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