Duran Duran brings crowd together at American Airlines Center in Dallas
Writer and podcast host Cecily Knobler is a Dallas native and lifelong Duran Duran fan who first saw them play Reunion Arena in February 1984. She's seen them nearly 20 times since, including their June 10 show at American Airlines Center. Here's her review:
New wave icons Duran Duran stopped in Dallas on Saturday on their "Future Past" tour with a show at the American Airlines Center, celebrating their 2021 album of the same name as well as their 40th anniversary.
It's my anniversary with the band, too: The first time I saw them was in 1984, at Reunion Arena, where I tried to climb on stage and got gently replaced to the ground by a security guard using one hand. I try to never miss a show, and caught this same tour in Los Angeles in September 2022, when they headlined three sold-out nights at the Hollywood Bowl.
The crowd in Dallas — estimated at about 17,000 people — seemed less engaged than L.A., where the audience got up and danced. Maybe because Hollywood Bowl is an outdoor venue and has more room?
But there were still plenty of Duranies at the AAC, who flashed "cherry ice cream smiles" (borrowed from the lyrics to their hit song "Rio") in response to the seductive bass of Duran Duran's bassist John Taylor and the infectious dance grooves of opening act Nile Rodgers and Chic.
One strange thing was that Nile Rodgers and Chic, who were the first opening act (Britpop band Bastille was the other), began their set at 6:50 pm, before the official start time at 7 pm — a disappointment for fans who arrived on time only to find Chic were already a few songs in.
They performed signature tracks such as "Le Freak" and "Good Times," but the biggest cheers came on covers such as "Like a Virgin" by Madonna and "I'm Coming Out" by Donna Summer, songs Rodgers had helped write or produce and could rightfully perform.
Duran Duran came on a little after 9 pm. Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, and Nick Rhodes filed on stage, joined by touring guitarist Dominic Brown, Simon Willescroft on saxophone, and singers Rachael O’Connor and Anna Ross.
The set list reflected one that has been nearly identical for most of the tour, beginning with "Night Boat," from their 1981 self-titled debut, and on to hits such as "Hungry Like the Wolf," "A View to a Kill," and "Notorious," as well as covers of "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash and "Super Freak" by Rick James, mashed up with their own "Lonely in Your Nightmare."
They ended with a grand finale of "Rio" which some members of the Dallas audience anticipated so greatly that they impatiently began chanting "Rio" long before the end neared.
While Duran Duran's style is to keep the focus on their performance, they used video screens in a few simple but effective moments. During “Come Undone,” the screens displayed images of white doves, seguing into “Save a Prayer," when Le Bon urged the crowd to hoist their cellphones, a moment for everyone in the audience to feel at one.
During "Is There Something I Should Know?" they projected a montage of band photos, newspaper articles, and posters from the ‘80s. It was a nostalgia trip, one that brought me back to my pre-teen bedroom, where I had those same posters on my wall.