Duran Duran stepped-in for Stevie Nicks, when she cancelled her appearance at the Austin City Limits Festival in October, 2021. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t prepared for the late-breaking news and on the back of a long vacation and other scheduling/financial commitments, and after a brief and painful internal struggle, I decided I wouldn’t be able to see them. They were to play both weekends of the festival and then announced that they would be doing an Austin City Limits Live taping! Unfortunately (again), tickets would not be available to the public and would only be made available to regular donors of KLRU, our PBS affiliate. I hit up my network and did manage to find tickets, but they belonged to someone who “had their posters on (her) wall.” Sorry.
The first weekend of ACL came and went and then the ACL taping came and went. I was reading tweets from Simon as he walked along Town Lake. I was distraught. How could Duran Duran literally be living and performing in my home town for a whole week and I could not a find a way to see them? It was then that merciful fate intervened and a friend found two free wristbands that I could use to see them on the last weekend of ACL. I grabbed Erin and off we went!
The show was amazing! The cracking opening show intro is rumored to be an extra track (“Velvet Newton”) off of the upcoming album and it immediately stirred the fans and set the energetic tone of the show. Watch it here!
Being a festival set, they were limited to an hour and that means a set list that is mostly a hit parade. They only played one song (“Anniversary”) of the four new tracks they have already released off of their upcoming album FUTURE PAST, which drops just 11 days from now, on October 22. But they delivered the rest of the classic hits with high energy, smiles, and musical excellence. This is one of the best live bands I have ever seen and even in the October of their years, they never ever phone-in a performance. The band was energetic and playful, highlighted by a cheeky cover of Calvin Harris’ “Acceptable in the 80’s” which seemed like the band having a laugh at themselves, serving only to make them as confident and sexy as they ever been.
It seemed clear to me that an extraordinarily charming Simon Le Bon in particular did not want to leave the audience of “strange bedfellows” after such an abbreviated set and we were not ready for him to go. I am still in an emotionally elevated state of joy and this was just a warm-up to an upcoming tour in 2022. I can tell you now that I will move heaven and earth to see as many of those shows as I can unreasonably muster.