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Days of Future Past: Duran Duran Brings Classics & New Anthems to Philly

Pop Break Live: Duran Duran ‘Future Past’ Tour with Nile Rodgers at The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA on September 7, 2023.

Iconic British new wave pop stars Duran Duran brought their highly anticipated Future Past Tour to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on September 7, 2023.

Duran Duran’s career has spanned over 40 years. The group became one of the bands that exploded due to the cultural and professional impact MTV had on the music industry. It was a match made in heaven as the bands innovative videos seemed to be on constant rotation (“Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Girls on Film,” “Notorious” and “Rio”) and made both of them more popular than ever.

The band was called the Fab Five by the press and were one of the biggest bands on the planet in the early 80’s. It was no surprise that they were inducted into the Rock + Roll Hall of Fame in November of last year. The members of the band are now in their 60s and there is no sign of them slowing down. They recently announced their 16th studio album, Dance Macabre (the follow up to 2021’s Future Past) which will be released on October 27th.

Nile Rodgers and Chic opened the show up.¬†Chic’s 15 song setlist was a huge hit with this crowd. It literally turned into a dance party the minute they stepped out on stage. They opened their set with their huge disco era hits “Le Freak,” “Everybody Dance,” “I Want Your Love,” “Dance Dance Dance Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).” They performed some stellar covers of songs Rodgers had either written, collaborated on or had his fingerprints on which included the Sister Sledge songs “He’s the Greatest Dancer”/ “We are Family,” Bowie’s “Modern Love” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out/Upside Down,” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl,” to name a few. The mic drop song was at their encore with “Rapper’s Delight”/”Good Times” mix. The crowd really showed them the love after the set ended.

Rodgers is a legendary innovator, composer and record producer who has worked with a who’s who list of music superstars. Rodgers received a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 Grammys.

When the lights went down, Duran Duran’s set started off with the haunting sounds of “Velvet Newton,” a synthesized new wave instrumental piece. A video showing the band on a spaceship appeared and a moment later the actual band was front and center on stage (silhouetted). They were met with loud screams from the crowd.

The tour featured four original band members from the Fab Five. Sadly guitarist and songwriter Andy Taylor, was not a part of the show as he has been battling cancer for the last five years.

Duran Duran kicked off the night with “Night Boat,” a song off their 1981 self-titled debut. The guys did not mess around and got the place rocking with four back-to-back hits including “The Wild Boys,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” ” A View to a Kill”(James Bond Theme)” and “Notorious.” At this point nobody was sitting in their seats. This Philly crowd was fired up and the show had really just begun.

There were cool visuals projected throughout the show. The ever-changing colors during the night were beautiful. The band showed clips of themselves in earlier years via snippets from their acclaimed music videos. A duet was done with a backup singer on the mesmerizing “Come Undone” while the original video played in the background. It was definitely a fan favorite.

Simon Le Bon asked the crowd if anyone was celebrating a birthday or anniversary then¬† broke into “Anniversary” — a single off their latest release. The crowd sang along to the chorus and really gave the band a nice response. They also played “Give it All Up” from the same album. The rest of the night was filled with fan favorites and hits like “Is There Something I Should Know,” “Careless Memories,” and a haunting version of “Friends of Mine” which had reels of classic horror movie scenes projected onto the screen. During the song “Planet Earth,” — which was their first video they ever put out — they introduced the band members. The backup singers really added something special to the show. Guitarist Dom Brown, who has has been with Duran Duran since 2006, wowed the crowd with his old school guitar antics with the rest of the band. The band and vocals were outstanding during the entire set.

One of the big highlights of the night was their stunning version of “Ordinary World.” It was goose bump worthy. They ended their set with “The Reflex” and “Girls on Film.” At the encore, Le Bon came out and showed off his blue jersey as the crowd cheered loudly. He told them that’s the sound the band lives for! He asked them to sing along to “Save a Prayer” and to pull out their cell phones to light the place up. He looked out into the sea of lights and said you’ve just created the milky way.

The crowd happily sang the chorus and eventually it turned into a hands in air kind of song. The band saved the best for last and left us with “Rio.” The frantic playing of their saxophone player during this song made it an even more special moment than it already was. Having been to this venue countless times since 1975, it was one of the loudest crowd responses of any encore I have ever heard. To be honest, the band looked stunned. They didn’t just leave after the song was over. They lingered a bit. Arms stretched out Le Bon and the rest of the band basked in it. The entire band was grinning from ear to ear. It was a fitting well deserved response from an appreciative audience to a legendary band who took the crowd on a wonderful nostalgic ride down memory lane.


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