Golden 1 Center, Sacramento
August 24, 2023
Photos by Paul Piazza
Duran Duran brought their Future Past Tour to the Golden 1 Center recently. The band, which originated in 1978, features four of the band’s longest running members, who each have a history with the group going back over 40 years.
Featured on this evening were two of the group’s founding members-bassist John Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhoades. Also on board were drummer Roger Taylor and vocalist Simon Le Bon, who joined not too long afterwards and have four decades under their belt as well. The only one missing of the core group on this night from their most popular era was guitarist Andy Taylor, who has been out of the band for close to 20 years. Dominic Brown, who has played and written on three of the band’s records over the last two decades was the guy in the guitar spot he has held down for quite some time.
It must be noted that although there were three Taylors in the band during their peak era, none of them are actually related. However, during that apex, the band achieved popularity levels that, at times, rivaled Beatlemania. With their combination of catchy hooks and magazine cover looks, there was a hysteria surrounding the group in those early days that must have been pretty heady stuff for the young lads from the UK to deal with. The band endured a fair number of struggles that were the result of the world’s lens being so intently focused on them at all hours of the day.
Ultimately, they seemed to have figured things out along the way and were about as sharp as one could expect for a band that has been at it for as long as they have. Quite good, in fact, on such highlights as “Ordinary World” and “Girls on Film.” The group continue to include Melle Mel’s “White Lines” in their setlist and could probably stand to retire it, except for the fact that it seems to rouse a second wind from the audience late in the show. And perhaps it seemed unnecessary because many in the crowd must have been picking up on the fact that the band seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as those in attendance. It was a great party.
Opening the concert on this night was Chic’s Nile Rodgers, the guitar great and studio wizard. Rodgers and his band unleashed a torrent of hits from his illustrious career on the crowd, surprising many with the breadth and depth of his writing career. A heavy dose of Chic kicked things off before the band swayed into Sister Sledge (Chic was the studio band on the mega hit record “We are Family”) as well as monster hits by David Bowie, Madonna, Daft Punk and Diana Ross. Rodgers has produced and remixed Duran Duran over the years as well. It was fantastic to see the 70-year old guitarist in such great form after having two separate bouts of cancer over the last decade. He is an American treasure.
Also on the bill on this night were Bastille. The British band, who are much younger than the main attractions, play a stylized type of Indie Rock that, if anything, drew some younger fans out to the show. They played a short but well received set, and for trivia’s sake, it’s important to note that two of the band members had an onscreen appearance in the final episode of Game of Thrones.
Naturally, it was Duran Duran, the titans of the video pop era that the crowd came out to see and they did not disappoint. Great presence and musicianship. Both the Taylors were quite impressive. The only downside of this night was that since Nile Rodgers came onstage so early, there were many who missed his set on this weeknight and that is indeed a tragedy.
Let’s hope that both Duran Duran and Nile Rodgers can keep it going strong as the world continues to go round because this night served as a reminder that if you get a chance to see this pair of artists in would be wise to heed Rodgers’ advice in the song “Good Times”- “The clock keeps turning, why hesitate?”