Gig Review by Sara Reynolds / Gig Photography by Wayne Fox

Duran Duran

I was very excited to hear Seal would be supporting Duran Duran on tonight’s bill at the new plush Genting arena. When he enters on stage a lady in front of me shouts out “I’ve only come to see you!” which has the crowd laughing, and I must admit, I would have paid good money to just see Seal himself too. Highlights for me are Crazy, and Adamski’s Killer, which is just one of those era defining songs from the 90’s Acid House scene. There is something so electric about Seal’s voice – which is soulful, and yet something more, sitting so well with an electronic track – much in the same way that Rhianna’s voice can.

Seal

Seal is a consummate professional on stage he looks extremely physically fit and bounds around the stage and into the crowd on more than one occasion. Seal has just released his 7th studio album called Seven, and from the tracks I hear here tonight I will be buying it. Seal knows what works for him – that heady mix of soulful voice, but danceable tracks that don’t allow things to get too heavy. His voice too remains unchanged with the passing years, and I have to say I’d call this more of a double bill than a support act, he really is up there with the best of them.

Seal Seal

Back in the eighties I had centrefolds from teen magazines such as Smash Hits plastered across my bedroom walls. I remember more than a few of these being images of Duran Duran. One that particularly springs to mind was a picture of Duran’s bassist John Taylor, shot in atmospheric black and white. The lyrics of ‘Save A Prayer’ were placed beside that famous chiselled face of his and had a million teenage girls swooning. As a teenager around the age of 13 Nick Rhodes was actually more my cup of tea, I’ve always liked the stranger ones, and his look to me at the time was the epitome of New Romantic cool.

Seal

Duran Duran

Duran Duran actually originated in Birmingham, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes grew up in Hollywood as friends and founding members, with later additions of Roger and Andy Taylor also from Birmingham (but not related). They had a succession of singers before Simon Le Bon came up from London to audition with them, which was the final piece of the puzzle that came to define their world famous New Romantic sound. I recently read John Taylor’s biography and it’s fascinating to hear all the stories of working at the Rum Runner (their manager’s nightclub), working first as bar men and Dj’s, but after not very long, performing on stage to a crowd of eccentrically dressed dancers and poseurs – well that’s what they were called back then anyway. Birmingham was at the heart of the New Romantic scene, and many famous faces came up from London to the legendary Rum Runner nightclub.

Duran Duran

It feels like a homecoming to see Duran Duran finally back in Brum, with a new Album ‘Paper God’s (their 14th studio album). It’s really hard to believe its been 35 years since they started out. Despite the fact most of Duran Duran are now in their mid fifties, they all look like men of much younger years, and are equally dynamic in their performance on stage – John and Simon at the helm bounding around like teenagers.

Duran Duran

Simon Le Bon’s voice is crystal clear, with amazing renditions of Hungry Like the Wolf, Rio, Notorious, A view to a kill, Wild Boys, Planet Earth, Ordinary World… we also get a rendition of Save a Prayer, and a chance to hear their thoughts on the recent Paris attacks. The band Eagles of Death Metal were playing at the Bataclan nightclub, that fatal night in November 2015 when 130 innocent civilians were mercilessly murdered. One of the Eagles setlist is Save a Prayer – which they have released as a single ‘to show our solidarity against terrorism and support for peace’. Duran Duran will be donating royalties from this to the same cause. Here tonight Duran Duran played their original version of the song; the whole arena is aglow with lights from mobile phones in tribute to the victims, the songs lyrics taking on another level of poignancy.

Duran Duran

One of the other highlights for me is Duran’s take on White Lines, by Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five, a chance to be transported right back to those dance floors of the nineteen eighties. An era defining song, by an era defining band – just brilliant!

Duran Duran

Duran Duran

See a complete Duran Duran photoset here…

See a complete Seal photoset here…

One Response to “Duran Duran + Seal – Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK – 4th December 2015”

  1. john bentley Says:

    Great stuff! Love it!

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