Kristen Cepil is sitting on a curb outside of the backstage entrance to the Sands Steel Stage, hoping to meet Duran Duran lead singer, Simon le Bon. She’s wearing a 1984 tour t-shirt, but explains she didn’t buy it herself. “It was my older sister’s. She got me into Duran Duran.” She isn’t the only one in the crowd seeing the new wave pioneers thanks to the influence of an older family member or friend. The audience is filled with excited fans from toddlers to grandparents.
Twelve-year-old Aiden R. is here with his mother, Jennifer, who happily shares that she was 12 at her first concert – Duran Duran on the “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” tour. But Aiden isn’t here because his mom forced it on him; he’s a devotee in his own right. “I like 80’s music. I much prefer it over today’s music,” he explains.
While there are some in the stands only looking for an evening of nostalgia, most of the audience enthusiastically embraces the band’s newer tracks. Eileen Teti, another admirer from the 80’s, is quick to note her favorite song of the night is the hyperkinetic new track, “Pressure Off”. The Nile Rodgers/Mark Ronson produced single features Janelle Monae and is a huge crowd pleaser performed live with Duran backing vocalist, Anna Ross.
People are here to see the original line-up of le Bon; keyboardist, Nick Rhodes; bassist, John Taylor; and drummer, Roger Taylor – former guitarist, Andy Taylor left in 2005 after a brief reunion in 2003 – and they aren’t disappointed. The band sounds better, tighter, than they did at their chart topping heights. Rounding out the roster with Ross are guitarist Dom Brown and saxophonist Simon Willescroft. The three aren’t just part of the current touring band; they can also be heard on the last two albums, as well as the upcoming album “Paper Gods”, due to be released in September.
The evening is filled with hits as the masses pour into the aisles to make room to sing and dance. Security is having a hard time shooing people back to their seats. One woman implores a guard to, “just let me dance! I have to dance,” after the band returns for the encore to play their 1995 cover of the Grandmaster Flash song, “White Lines”. Security finally gives up half way through fan favorite, “Rio”. There are just too many people having fun to push them back to their seats.
There are a few disappointed individuals as everyone empties out of the venue. Some lament the exclusion of 1981’s, “Girls on Film” and one die hard fanatic, who wouldn’t stop to share his name, exclaimed, “I waited all of these years and all they played were the fucking singles?” It’s clear, however, they are in the minority. Matt Conway admits he doesn’t consider himself a huge fan, but loved the show. “There’s nothing better than seeing someone good at what they do,” he says.
LJ Moskowitz is a photographer and writer based out of New Jersey specializing in concert, product and fine art photography. She is an active member of the National Press Photographers Association and Professional Photographers of America. You can find her at Shutterchick Photography, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.