A roll of simulated thunder with flashes of lightning tear across the huge stage screens in the dark of Southampton Common… Duran Duran are here and they mean business. Thousands have turned out to see the eighties synthpop legends and as Simon LeBon emerges from a raised stairway centre-stage rocking tight white jeans and a leather jacket, the crowd goes wild.
Paper Gods kicks things off, a statement of intent that they won’t just stick to the hits, that they have something much more current to say. With the likes of Keisza, Lindsay Lohan and Janelle Monáe on the album collaboration bill, it’s clear Duran Duran are marking their territory in modern music, and it’s hardly surprising with all the electronic emphasis in the charts at the moment and eighties style resurgence, that the younger contingent at CP seem to be enjoying themselves as much as the original fanbase.
Wild Boys features fire effects on the backdrops and a fair amount of stamping around from the band members, and Hungry Like The Wolf keeps the party going, with LeBon, head thrown back howling into the night sky.
James Bond track A View To A Kill gets the signature aperture and gun treatment on the big screens and even the teenage boys in the back seem appreciative of this one, whilst huge confetti explosions herald funky Notorius and LeBon yelling “Does everyone love the music of the eighties?”
A tribute to the late great David Bowie sees a huge projection of the singer’s face during a quick rendition of Space Oddity, and after some saucy moves for Girls on Film, Duran Duran also ask for the crowd to raise their phone lights for Save a Prayer to pay respect to another recently lost music hero – Prince. There’s not a dry eye in the house as LeBon shouts “He’s a man who really changed music and gave fans like us a kick up the arse” and the stage is lit purple.
Finishing up with classic summer smash Rio is the only way to go, with twinkly city lights in the background and a load of inflatable beach balls bouncing around the crowd, Southampton steals a little bit of the Caribbean tonight. Oh and if there are any yacht and suit related thefts reported tomorrow… well frankly, we have no idea what you’re talking about. What an epic ending to Common People 2016!
All photos © A. Hyams – Do not use without permission.