Duran Duran finally made it to Berlin on Tuesday night for a much anticipated stop on their current tour in support of new album, All You Need is Now. Columbia Halle, situated across the road from the imposing Tempelhof Airport building, was the setting and with the entire lower tier crammed full of people there was a palpable sense of excitement running through the rather mixed up crowd. Roadies were cheered, lights were dimmed and the chatter turned to shrieks as a whole lot of people got very excited. All the better for when Simon Le Bon appeared on stage shrouded in smoke like a pop messiah complete with silver drummers jacket.
Dispensing with potentially difficult new album material, the band chose the best tracks from All You Need Is Now and delivered toughened up bass-heavy versions of, lets be honest, the songs a lot of people were there to hear. ‘Planet Earth’, ‘View to a Kill’ and ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ were delivered with a reverberating gusto with John Taylor‘s bass and Nick Rhodes’ synths pulsating in unison. The chart veterans and pop-pioneers were tight, polished and surprisingly loud. A guest spot from singer Anna Ross signaled an injection of some sass and gritty p-funk into proceedings before by an impromptu singalong with a member of the audience who was picked out seemingly at random. Good job all he had to sing was “Na Na Na Naaaaa” from the opening lines of ‘The Reflex’. With illuminating introductions to some of the ideas behind the new songs and a request to send Tweets that would be displayed on stage there was sometimes a dizzying array of things to be seeing or hearing. However none of this detracted from Duran Duran’s show which included a heartfelt rendition of ‘Ordinary World’ which Le Bon explained was written in memory of a lost friend. Covers of ‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and ‘White Lines’ coming at the end of their set were rapturously received before the inevitable climax of ‘Rio’ which was spat out at the end of a swirling, climatic introduction that kept the crowd guessing all the way till the first moments of the instantly recognisable opening riff. And then, as quickly as the show had begun, it was over. A warm thank you from the band and it was goodnight Duran Duran.
Our enduring memory of the night? Simon Le Bon’s massive reflective shield which he brought out during ‘Hungry like the Wolf’.
** The image used for this review is actually from an earlier date on the current tour.