Duran Duran Thrill As ‘Future Past’ North American Tour Kicks Off With Nile Rodgers & Chic

“Alright! Are we ready to party?” Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers asked onstage Saturday night in Chicago.

The question was, of course, rhetorical as a near-full crowd prepared for the North American launch of Duran Duran’s “Future Past” tour.

After an opening set from DJ White Shadow, known for his work with artists like Lady Gaga, the United Center in Chicago was nearly full as Chic delivered one of the most rewarding opening sets of the year, an hour-long journey through Rodgers’ diverse songbook. .

The tour was scheduled to begin outdoors in Minnesota, but weather delayed and eventually rescheduled the Friday night show, moving opening night to Windy City.

“Okay, Chicago! How are you?” singer Simon Le Bon asked after the band’s first release on “The Wild Boys.”

The four core members of Duran Duran – Le Bon, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes – are joined on this outing by touring guitarist Dominic Brown, a band that has grown to eight thanks to saxophone live and to a pair of backing vocalists as the group entered one of their biggest second set hits with “Hungry Like the Wolf”, celebrating the Rio album at 40.

Streamed nearly 280 million times on Spotify alone, “Hungry Like the Wolf” became the band’s first US hit thanks to strong video rotation on MTV, with the band selling over 100 million records worldwide.

Slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in November, Duran Duran made his case for new music on Saturday night in Chicago, coming up with “INVISIBLE” early on. Taken from their 15th studio album Future Pastthe new single was a resplendent climax, with Le Bon turning to his delighted left, flashing a smile at Brown during a solo debut.

“We have something to celebrate and so do you! said Le Bon, continuing with the new “BIRTHDAY.” “Our birthday is every day, which means that, at the same time, it’s also your birthday. And we’re going to party like there’s no other! affirmed the singer while the group was returning to 1986’s “Notorious”.

The hit parade continued with ‘A View to a Kill’, with the instantly recognizable James Bond logo flanking the band on screen. Le Bon then turned on backing vocalist Rachael O’Connor, returning perfectly to the second verse of “Come Undone.”

It was the jackets off for Le Bon and John Taylor, setting up some of the night’s rockiest moments as Duran Duran dug deep into their self-titled 1981 debut for “Careless Memories” and “Friends of Mine.” .

The band then slowed things down, setting up one of the night’s most poignant moments in a dedication of “Ordinary World” to the people of Ukraine. “It’s been over six months now since war was launched on them by someone else,” the singer said. “And we have to support them and help them through this ordeal. We wish them life, happiness and peace in their own country.

Brown took Warren Cuccurullo’s solo as the Ukrainian flag split the screen behind the band, Le Bon singing “suffering and greed” as Duran Duran walked through a reworked live ending to the song.

While many bands these days opt for live assistance from pre-recorded backing tracks, Le Bon, 63, was singing live Saturday night. His voice got hoarse when he introduced the group during “Planet Earth,” but he still delivered a booming lead vocal on “TONIGHT UNITED,” with no backing tracks to be heard.

Le Bon walked to his left during “Hold Back the Rain,” spinning into the front corner of the stage as Brown and John Taylor huddled. The group was again eight in number, with Le Bon soliciting a crowd voice from the drum lifter during “The Reflex”.

“It makes the stars hang out in Chicago on a cloudy night,” the singer said as he watched the vocals, adding acoustic guitar as Duran Duran kicked off their encore with “Save A Prayer.”

“Our friendship goes back about 40 years! At ‘The Reflex’,” Rodgers explained at the start of Chic’s first set.

Rodgers remixed “The Reflex” and co-produced the Famous album, developing a bond with Duran Duran that helped New Romantics deepen an already diverse sound, adding elements of funk.

The guitarist, songwriter and producer took fans to his own catalog on Saturday night, rolling out some of the massive songs he’s been involved with over the years, a varied setlist ranging from Madonna (“Like A Virgin”) to David Bowie. (“Modern Love” and “Let’s Dance”).

It’s rare for an arena to be full for an opening set, but it was packed as soon as Rodgers and his eight-piece band held an hour-long disco, funk, rock and soul clinic.

“Okay, everyone! This is our very first single!” he said, wearing a shimmering white suit, putting on Chic’s “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”. “Disco time!” Rodgers said.

Live horns and a booming bassline kicked off during “Chic Cheer” as the band entered a pair of Rodgers-penned Diana Ross tracks in “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down “.

“A few years ago I was suffering from my second bout of cancer,” Rodgers said, introducing one of his greatest hits. “That song is called ‘Get Lucky,'” he continued, explaining his collaboration with Daft Punk. “I feel like the luckiest man in the world because since then I’ve been cancer free,” he said, setting up an emotional keyboard intro to the 2013 mega-hit.

A cover of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” — yet another hit written and produced by Rodgers — summed up her relationship with Duran Duran, with Chic heading for arguably her biggest hit in “The Freak.”

“Now the time has come for me to take it to maximum funkosity!” Rodgers said onstage in Chicago on Saturday, heading to the finish appropriately with “Good Times.”

About Joan J. Hernandez

Check Also

A sixth Paramore album could be upon us very soon

It’s been five years since pop-punk trio Paramore released their 2017 album, After the laugh. …