In Search of Paper Gods. Duran Duran in Edmonton

Music Fangirl Confession #3: I love 80s music… Like L-O-V-E, head over heels, in love, love.  I love the synth, the post punk, new wave, college rock, arena rock… music and yes, maybe even some of the hair bands (Bon Jovi, I’m looking at you).   I love the fun – neon, high hair, rubber bracelets – fashion (though not the shoulder pads…) and the rebel streak – women wearing men’s clothing, primary coloured hair, androgyny – activism against the harsh Thatcher/Reagan conservatism that went hand in hand with the music.

This was my era of musical and social conscience awakening. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, REM, the Police, Culture Club, Eurythmics, and, yes, U2.

Duran Duran rocks the Mirrorballs at Rogers Place, Notorious, Edmonton July 10, 2017
Duran Duran rocks the Mirrorballs at Rogers Place, Notorious, Edmonton July 10, 2017

So when the ultimate 80s synth band Rock Gods, Duran Duran, announced they were coming to my town, I jumped at the chance to see these Wild Boys live.  I mean, come on, Notorious, Rio, Hungry Like a Wolf!!??  Live!? Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor in the flesh?  Delivering the tunes of my hey day?  How could I not go?  What kind of fangirl/Searcher of  Rod Gods would I be if I didn’t go???

So I went.  And it was A-MAZ-ING!!! Everything it should have been and more.  The music, sublime.  The fashion, bright, neon.  The banter, heart-throbby.  Heart-breaking tributes. Day-glo passion – I mean, just look at this photo.

The night began with Capital Cities opening the show with their funkadelic, jazz infused rocky-ness.  I have to admit that I didn’t know who they were before the show, but they soon won me over with their music. Oh wait, I did know who they are – or so I realized towards the end of their set when they played Safe and Sound – yes, that song!  I love that song!  Sneaky little devils, winning us over BEFORE playing their hit 😀  Well, and then they dived into Nothing Compares 2 U and Holiday, and the 80s Love fest begins!

Intermission – a strange, yet wonderful, yet really strange Broadway/ Rock Opera-ish soundtrack over the sound system.  Not your typical intermission playlist… (By the way – I thought Google/the internet could answer every single question these days… but it does not know what that soundtrack is… Can anybody tell me?)

And then.

The lights go down.

And the lights come up. Three cloaked faces appear on the video screen.  The smoke machines start smoking. The music begins.  Duran Duran enters the stage.  And all senses are on fire.

The colors are 80s vivid, with Simon Le Bon wearing the funkiest greenest motorcycle jacket, electric blue shirt, white jeans and green sneakers. (This outfit, by the way, pretty much glows when the lights are just right.  So cool!) And the rest of the guys  and backup singers, just as bright and glorious. 80s yet Twenty-teens awesomeness.

They begin with Paper Gods from their latest album of the same name and the tour’s namesake.  Images of forests move across the screen. I’ve not yet heard this song until this moment.  It’s rockin live! Pure Duran Duran – synth pop with a message: “Bow to the paper Gods in a world that is paper thin. The fools in town are ruling now.”

And then.

John Taylor and Roger Taylor in red. Paper Gods Tour Rogers Place Edmonton July 10, 2017
Sometimes I just love the weird accidental something went wrong but this looks so cool photos.. John Taylor and Roger Taylor in red. Paper Gods Tour Rogers Place Edmonton July 10, 2017

Right. Smack. Into the hits. The Wild Boys.  I’m in the back of the arena (which, after 3 stadium concerts, does not feel very back of the venue.  I feel so close, so intimate with 6000 people and the band.) and while there’s plenty of energy in the house, this part of the crowd is sitting down. (Why!? Why do people sit at rock concerts….)  Until this song.  We are on our feet dancing like it’s 1984!

“Did you drink your beers? Eat your hot dogs?” Asks Simon, “Or are you hungry..”   And the crowd goes wild. We ARE hungry… Hungry Like The Wolf.  I cannot contain my joy.  I’m snapping photos like a mad woman as the imagery and music, and banging of the drums, bass and thousands of hands clapping and feet stomping is exquisite sensory overload (did I mention yet how much I love live music by my Rock Gods???).

Simon then introduces us to the band and backup singers and then himself: “I’m Bon. Simon Le Bon…” and jumps into – yes, you guessed it – A View to a Kill, their James Bond theme.  The hits keep coming, we are still dancing (some of us in the back anyways).  So are the band.

Simon Le Bon and Anna Ross, Come Undone. Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Edmonton July 10, 2017
Simon Le Bon and Anna Ross, Come Undone. Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Edmonton July 10, 2017

Things slow down with Come Undone. Can I just say here how wonderful Duran Duran still sound? Simon’s voice is really quite lovely – a bit breathy and emotional for this song.

This is followed by the groovin, dance-y Last Night in the City and the wistful What Are the Chances?, both from Paper Gods. I think I have to buy this album…

Roger Taylor and John Taylor in blue. Paper Gods Tour Rogers Place Edmonton July 10, 2017
Roger Taylor and John Taylor in blue. Paper Gods Tour Rogers Place Edmonton July 10, 2017

And then.

Notorious. High energy, mirrorballed, flourescent, shiny, kick-ass, party, awesomeness! Seriously, I am not sitting down for this one people! Get up! Shake your groove thang!

(I can’t help but be struck by some visual similarities between this show and U2 live – mirrorballs for one. large mirrorballs. lots of mirrorballs.  And the trees on the big screens. And the pink moon.)

Sunrise/New Moon on Monday - funny - cus it was Monday! Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Edmonton July 10, 2017
Sunrise/New Moon on Monday – funny – cus it was Monday! Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Edmonton July 10, 2017

And next up is Pressure Off, which might seem like a kick back, stop stressing (“Take the pressure off”) type number, but also has the super relevant lyrics like:

Past is another country
The present will never last
The future, it’s still tomorrow
Are we living too fast?

After Hold Back the Rain, our hearts collectively break with Simon’s as he dedicates Ordinary World to his mother who passed away a month ago.

The main set finishes with I Don’t Want Your Love, (Reach Up for the) Sunrise / New Moon on Monday, White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It), and Girls on Film.  The crowd is still hungry for more and we scream our heads off for the encore.  Like, off – my throat still hurts and I clapped in an extra thousand steps on my Vivosmart!

Simon Le Bon being Rock God Glorious - Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Edmonton July 10, 2017
Simon Le Bon being Rock God Glorious

One thing I’ve learned from being a 40-something live music fangirl – we never really outgrow our teens; we are still rocking it! (Well, maybe not the chair-sitters…) We still dance in the aisles. Raise our hands in the air (like we just don’t care! Now somebody, anybody… SCREAM!). And yes, we still scream in adoration for our bands.

In fact, I’m sure, based on the many concerts that I’ve been to with a fan-base in this age-range, we can out-scream any Justin Bieber audience out there!  And for those bands that still have GA (U2, I’m looking at you!), we still line up for hours and hours (or days) beforehand to get as close as possible to our Rock Gods. We just hurt for more days after 😀

But I digress.  Back to screaming for an encore.  It worked. (Shocking, I know!) The boys come back for probably the most romantic sounding one night stand song ever, Save a Prayer.

And then.

A rip-roaring, high energy, bright lights, vibrant color and confetti shower (holy crap the confetti) of a Grand Finale with the massive hits The Reflex and Rio.

The Grand Finale Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Roger's Place Edmonton July 10, 2017
The Grand Finale Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Roger’s Place Edmonton July 10, 2017
The Grand Finale Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Roger's Place Edmonton July 10, 2017
The Grand Finale Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour Roger’s Place Edmonton July 10, 2017

Seriously.  The confetti!

Whoo ahhhw!  What a ride!

(For more photos from this show (and other concerts), check out my Gallery page.)

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