Thursday, 15 March 2012

80s Memories Live On

Duran Duran performed live last night in Hong Kong
I have a confession -- I was nuts about Duran Duran when I was a teenager.

Now that I look back I had some strange infatuation with keyboardist Nick Rhodes who still has a penchant for eyeliner.

Meanwhile most of my classmates were into John Taylor and his shaggy mane.

So it was an opportunity for nostalgia and relive the 80s when Duran Duran performed last night at AsiaWorld-Expo.

I went with a co-worker and we decided on the mid-range tickets at the auspicious cost of HK$888 ($114.40) each. And like us, the vast majority of the audience were our age and older, most in their work clothes as they'd all come from the office.

However there were a few who made the effort to dress up in an 80s look, some young men with teased big hair topped with a pork pie hat, oversized shirts and balloon pants, while some women wore sparkly tops or dresses.

After several announcements made in English and Chinese that the show was about to start (not), we filed into the massive space filled with temporary seating. The stage in front looked like there wasn't enough room for the band members, and its layout wasn't very... updated.

We sat in the middle section to the far right with mostly Caucasians and a smattering of Chinese.

Some 35 minutes late the lights went dark and Duran Duran took their places.

Simon LeBon looks much older, but his voice still sounds the same. It's pretty amazing considering he had a serious bout of laryngitis in May last year where he lost his voice for a few months.

But here his vocal range was back and he was very lively jumping up and down, dancing around, but for the most part stayed in the centre of the stage.

Meanwhile Rhodes looked cool and composed in his suit playing keyboards, looking like he was hardly breaking a sweat, while John Taylor still had two-toned hair on guitar and Roger Taylor bashing away on the drums.

They played a mix of old and new songs, and it was really the former that the audience came for. We all jumped up with songs like A View to a Kill from the James Bond movie, and Planet Earth, Hungry Like the Wolf, Reflex and Notorious. The last song before the encore was Wild Boys in which they remixed in part of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Relax for a bit of a twist.

LeBon gave a tribute to the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami just over a year ago, singing Ordinary World to much applause.

Some of the new songs included All You Need is Now, the title track from their latest album and Girl Panic, featuring a wacky video on screen behind the band that reunited such 80s supermodels as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Eva Herzigova impersonating Duran Duran and pretending to sing and play instruments.

We decided to leave when the band members left the stage to avoid the rush for the Airport Express at the end of the show. Previously we'd heard horror stories of hundreds of people trying to leave the venue en masse and hardly any other modes of transport available. As a result I was able to get back to town with fond memories of the show intact.

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