Around the World in 40 Shows: 21-30 / 1992-2001
This special Cherry Lipstick series tracks the history of Duran Duran through the 40 key live performances of their 40 year career.
Part 1 (shows 1-10) covered 1979 to 1983, from the time of Rhodes-Taylor-Duffy, via the Rum Runner and the first tours of Australia and America, back to their stadium show in Birmingham in July 1983.
Part 2 (shows 11-20) covered 1984 to 1991, from the Sing Blue Silver tour, via the Strange Behaviour adventures in Brazil and Italy, to when they didn't tour the Liberty album.
Now it's 1992 and we find Duran Duran starting again, with a plan to get this fab new song they've written out into the world...
21. K-ROC, ‘Almost Acoustic Christmas’, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, USA, 12 December 1992.
18 months since their last live performance, Duran Duran return with their new album, new arrangements of the classic hits, and a new song that they are rather keen to show off.
The Wedding Album had been recorded in reduced circumstances, in Warren's house, with the band knowing their career was on the line.
John Jones (producer): When it was time to clap I'd just swing the mic into the middle of the room, put it on all-around and everybody would clap. There were a couple of fans who I had to turn off and we occasionally had helicopters flying overhead which forced us to retake, but Ordinary World nervertheless definitely has some birds on it! You can hear them if you solo the vocal, and you can hear the odd car and kid in the street. We didn't have a sealed room, that's for sure! (1993)
John: Before our music was very poetic, you needed to be on the same wavelength as Simon to understand it. Now there's an anger, because nobody took as a serious group. After a while that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. This album is different thanks to Warren, his talent and power with the guitar. (1993)
LA Times: Capping off the night was an enthusiastic return from former KROQ and MTV kings Duran Duran. "You've heard of 'MTV Unplugged'- well, this is 'Duran Duran Undrugged,' " said singer Simon Le Bon, setting the tone that would have us believe that all they want for Christmas is to be part of the, as the title of the band's new single says, Ordinary World. Yeah, right. But there was an earnestness to the performance that, giving Duran the benefit of the doubt, made displays of humility seem believable. (1992)
Simon (considering the meaning of Ordinary World): I’m guessing we’d all thought about calling it a day. But the great thing about being in a band is that you might be having your day when you feel like quitting, but at least two other people aren’t. But there were times when I got despondent. I remember sitting there thinking: “Wow, this is the slow decline now. And it’s not going to stop.” (2015)
22. National Sports and Recreation Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, 10 April, 1993
First show in Africa. The Wedding Album was taking off, and the promotion became increasingly ambitious. Another change since the previous tour in 88/89 was the ending of Apartheid, and the lifting of the sporting and artistic boycott.
Graham Reid: Of their impending tour of South Africa, John Taylor observes: “They are making changes there, so we’re saying ‘Yeah, we think that’s good,’ so we’ll play there. Rather than ostracise, it’s like, ‘Welcome to the world’ and saying, “This is what you get if you change.” Nick Rhodes, in a piece of political observation probably better kept to himself, says: “It’s the music lovers in South Africa who have suffered most.” (2010)
John: The Wedding Album tour began in South Africa, our first time there and my first time on the road as a Dad. South Africa was a great place to take a one-year old, who got to go on safari and play with lion cubs. (2012)
23. Tower Records 'World Tour', Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA, 15 May 1993
The success of Ordinary World and Come Undone, plus the acoustic re-arrangements, led Duran into a wonderfully confident and innovative period of their career. “I don’t want to be old playing Hungry Like the Wolf” says Warren. This desire to make the most of the unexpected attention led them to explore the world.
Newspaper: "The recent live worldwide broadcast from Tower Records was only the latest stage in an international strategy. Since the set up for the album began last fall, international marketing efforts have been coordinated with Capitol Records in the US and EMI in Europe. From South Africa to South America to South East Asia, the band is having major global impact. The Wedding Album has hit platinum in Argentina (where they played to 40,000 people in Buenos Aires), the first market to hit that milestone. "Perhaps we will work our way around the world in alphabetical order," quips John Taylor. (1993)
The hour-long Tower Records show was played at midnight in Los Angeles and broadcast live to London, Berlin, Sydney and Tokyo.
Kerry Poynter: At 7.45am about 50 people greeted the London Tower Records staff who let us in, We were led down in to the basement to an area where a big white screen had been set up. We were then told the band wouldn’t be playing for another half an hour, which gave the Tower Records staff enough time to not very discreetly cover up all their products so that we wouldn’t get out grubby mitts on them. Duran Duran fans are obviously very dodgy people. (1993)
24. Ahoy, Rotterdam, Holland, 4 September 1993
1993 had been a total triumph. Until this. The band came on to Too Much Information and then Simon stopped half way through the second song, Hungry Like The Wolf.
Manon Wortel: John laughed so we thought someone had made a mistake. Warren continued playing. My first thought was that Simon was disappointed with the audience. He told us he had no voice, so I thought he wanted to sing louder. But he said, “Guys, I’m really sorry but I’m losing my voice, it’s kind of gone already and I don’t think I can sing anymore. I’m doing you guys a disservice by playing a show that isn’t up to it. OK, thank you, goodnight.” After 30 seconds Warren said, “We’ll be right back.” 30 minutes later, the band came back and Lamya took the lead and sang Come Undone, Notorious, and White Lines. “There’s only one song left we felt we could play you with any real confidence,” said Nick. “This song goes out to Simon.” They played Ordinary World and ended the show. (1993)
The majority of the tour over the next two months is postponed, and the momentum of the year seemed to dissipate.
18 months later…
25. Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Irvine, California, USA, 24 June 1995
The Wedding Album tour concluded in early 1994 with another trip to America and a last leg in Israel and the Far East. In April '95, the band finally released Thank You. They set off on a brief, mini tour of the US, playing a shortened set list (usually 8-10 songs, 45 minutes long, in front of a studio audience).
Irvine Meadows was the last show of the Thank You tour, and the last time John played with Duran Duran until 2003.
Fan review: I don't know why Duran bother to play to an audience who prefer recorded music with live singers. The other bands, if you would call them that, were pitiful in my opinion. Simon did, indeed, shave his head again... as always Duran were wonderful, a little energy could have made it better, though. Simon thanked the crowd for a fun end to the tour and said that '95 was the best year ever. He sounded sincere but not convincing. P.L.YOU sounds better and better each time I hear it. (1995)
Four days later…
26. 'Mr Moo’s Futurama', Viper Rooms, Los Angeles, USA, 28 June 1995
Back in March '95, Duran had played a short set at the newly opened Hardrock Hotel in Las Vegas. It was there that John met Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum (both Guns 'n' Roses) and Steve Jones (ex-Sex Pistols).
This was John’s second attempt at being in a band that isn’t Duran Duran (planned whilst he was touring with Duran, recording with the reformed Power Station, and in the process of completing his solo album).
John: As much as an entity like Duran Duran is wonderful to be in, it's still tiresome to be 'John Taylor from Duran Duran'. We've got a megabucks deal with a huge international conglomerate that is completely contrary to grass roots. I'd like to be able to say, 'let's put out a b-sides album, let's put out a live album from '84'. There's all sorts of things we could do like that... There are so many people involved in a Duran Duran record - there's producers, mixers, managers, A&R people. And it's OK for Simon cause Simon still hears himself, but you know I get really tired. Before it was like a new wave band and you'd hear five people making music. But then we got more into a dance style... everybody in the band can tap out a really funky bass line on a computer now. (1995)
Steve Jones: The first show was a benefit gig. Matt [Sorum] instigated it. The four of us thought, ‘this is cool, let’s do this again’. (2017)
John: Matt called me and Steve, and said, “You guys want to play a few songs at this fund-raiser I’m organising at the Viper Rooms next Monday*? Three songs, maybe four? (2012)
*for the record, 28 June 1995 was a Wednesday, which suggests John may have got mixed up with the first proper show on 11 September 1995 which WAS on a Monday.
John: We had four rehearsals for that show. It's an interesting chemistry that really works. Matt and Duff are in a kind of very frustrated situation waiting on the tarmac for Captain Axl to arrive for five years, you know, and Steve is a law unto himself. To be able to play Pretty Vacant is a gas, I like being in a band that has four singers, I've always tried to push that with Duran but it gets poo-pooed. We plan on having a different guest every week and we're not playing the same show, we've kicked three songs out and added six. It's like being on Saturday Night Live. You do the show on Monday and then go back to rehearsal and have to come up with some new skits. It's great. (16 September 1995)
The following week they were back:
Eddie Merrick: The word had got around. A small ad appeared in a freebie paper called 'The L.A. Times'. “Monday September 18th - live performance by Steve Jones, Duff McKagen, Matt Sorum and John Taylor.” All 'phonecalls to the Viper Room were met with an answerphone, and a visit to the club over the weekend to a crap 70s disco night could not confirm anything so I decided to take a chance.
We got to the club at 8pm and found a queue already stretched around the block. No problem I thought until I was told that the maximum the club holds is 160 people! The disco was very loud - playing Bowie, Iggy, T-Rex, Bauhaus and Pistols - and the room at The Viper Club is small with 8 tables and benches next to the walls and silver foil covering all the walls and decor. The stage is opposite the bar and whilst we were waiting in front of the stage (by this time it was pretty packed) we had waitress service so we didn't lose our place.
By just after midnight we were all starting to get a little restless, and as the disco died down an announcement was made. "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the best band in the world - Mr. Moo’s Futurama!" The crowd went wild. The curtains pulled back and there was Steve - one foot perched on the bass drum of Matt Sorum, and his white Les Paul ready to go. The band launched into Planet Earth with John Taylor on vocals, and the place erupted.
[Reprinted with the kind permission of the God Save The Sex Pistols website - details below.]
The Neurotic (Boy) Outsiders then toured until April 1996. All bar a handful of shows (in Germany, Canada, the UK and France) would be in the USA.
Steve Jones: It’s a shame the album fell on its ass as it could have done a lot better. (2017)
John: The Neurotics had been conceived as an antidote to the day job, not to become the day job. When it became a career it lost its mojo. (2012)
Two years later…
27. John Taylor, Reitstadion, Stuttgart, Germany, 26 June 1997
Back on 18 January 1997, John appeared at the Durancon fan convention. He played 7 songs and announced to the stunned fans he was leaving Duran Duran. He then played Lonely In Your Nightmare and devoted himself to a solo career.
Warren: I was pretty shocked when John actually made the decision, but he did kind of keep his distance for a while before. I was glad to hear that he was happy with what he was doing. It was kind of bubbling under for the last few years, I guess. (1997)
Stuttgart was John’s first solo show. He played 8 tracks, four solo and four by Duran (My Own Way (obviously), Save A Prayer, Planet Earth and Hold Back The Rain).
Esther Habraken and Manon Wortel: This was the yearly AbiFete, an open-air festival for the school kids in the Stuttgart area who’ve just passed their final exams. In between other world-famous acts as 7T and Die Dicken Kinder von Landau (who???) the organizers had managed to convince John Taylor (“ex-Duran Duran”) to make an appearance. Of the expected 20,000 German school kids, only a fraction turned up. Around 40 extremely loyal Duran / JT fans however had travelled from as far away as southern Italy, Portugal, France, England and even the US. (1997)
28. Orpheum Theater, Boston, USA, 13 November 1997
The first full Duran show since early 1994. The first ever without a Taylor in the line-up.
The 'Ultra Chrome Latex and Steel' tour lasted only a month, winding up quickly amid the collapse of Medazzaland’s worldwide release.
Boston newspaper review: The guitarist himself, while occasionally bordering on excessive arena rock posturing, produced an impressive array of sounds from his arsenal of guitar pedals... Cuccurullo then surprised people by pulling former Missing Persons singer Dale Bozzio onstage for a brief rendition of 'Destination Unknown. (1997)
Fan review: That KILLER new version of Secret Oktober! Without telling anyone what it sounds like before they get a chance to hear it, I will say that upon hearing this you will fully believe that, indeed, Cuccurullo is King! (1997)
Mandy Jones: Maybe it was jet lag, lack of sleep, or maybe we just weren’t that used to American audiences, but that first night in New York was awful. The band played badly, the audience seemed apathetic and, of course, John wasn’t there. (2001)
29. House of Blues, Chicago, USA, 5 August 1999
A band refusing to quit. After gate-crashing the big UK venues on the back of a Greatest Hits tour at the end of ‘98, they were now working hard in the summer of ‘99 to plug their upcoming album.
The Pop Trash pre-release promotional tour emphasised the increasingly US-focused band. From 1994-1999, there were only a few shows outside of the States, in increasingly smaller venues.
30. Kobe Kokusai Kaikan, Kobe, Japan, 22 June 2001
Warren’s last show. He had been playing live with Duran since 1987, and been a full band member since 1989. The reunion was announced on 10 May 2001 just prior to the last leg of the Pop Trash tour in Japan, where they played three final dates as a Taylor-less trio.
Nick: We'd reached the end of the road. We'd come to the end with Warren, so we parted. But credit to him - Warren helped Duran survive the Nineties. (2003)
Simon: Warren had crossed the Rubicon. He had a temper tantrum after a show in San Diego*, and we had to leave the dressing room because it was so bad. Nick and I looked at each other and said: “We should think about a reunion.” The next day, I went to see John at his house. (2015)
*There is no record of a Duran show in San Diego in 1999, 2000 or 2001.
John: Warren's participation in the reunion didn't make sense to anyone, and he bowed gracefully out of the project once it got rolling. (2012)
Warren: I didn’t know anything about the reunion. Kind of like a “reunion of the snakes,” is it not? Total secrecy. The amicable factor comes from the fact that we worked out an agreement for the forthcoming album, “AstroNOT,” where I would be compensated. The other negative rumblings came from the request by DD management, that I not come to any of the shows or backstage. I was shocked. I was really looking forward to hooking up with them. I had my restaurant ready for whenever they wanted to come. I was really crushed and I got the word out. Turns out it was an Andy Taylor insecurity thing. Didn’t know he saw my G Magazine photos. (2010)
Simon: It was when he started doing the nude shoots that I kind of realised he wasn't right for the band. But Warren, he's a lovely guy. Actually I wouldn't say he's a lovely guy. No - yes he is. But him leaving was more to do with, he was very overbearing when it came to the artistic side. 'I'm right, we should do it like this, this is the only way it should be, all you have to do is go and write the lyrics'. That, ultimately, is what made me say to Nick one day, 'This isn't gonna work'. (2011)
Andy: Nick and Simon insisted that Roger and I were on a smaller percentage of earnings. (2009)
Nick: The reunion shows are something we are very much looking forward to. (2001)
But before we go, we loop back to the start of this article, with Warren playing Ordinary World at that final show in Japan. Simon introduces the song saying "This symbolises what we could do together."
Or, as the caption to this picture of the unhappiest band in the world might have it, "Where is my friend when I need you most? Gone away."
Coming up next to conclude this unique Cherry Lipstick series:
The final 10 shows in Part 4: 2002 - 2018
John Jones, Recording Musician magazine, April 1993 (in Cherry Lipstick Volume 1 Issue 3 and Volume 1 Issue 5)
John, Be Bop a Lula magazine (Italy), April 1993. Translated for Cherry Lipstick by Elena Zurru, in Cherry Lipstick Volume 1 Issue 2 and Volume 1 Issue 4
Simon, The Guardian, 10 September 2015
South Africa, 1993
John: In The Pleasure Groove autobiography, p343 (2012)
Tower Records, 1993
Newspaper (USA, unknown name), Duran Duran on Track for '93 World Comeback by Thom Duffy, May 1993
Kerry Poynter, fan review for Cherry Lipstick, Volume 1 Issue 2, June 1993
Manon Wortel, fan review for Cherry Lipstick, Volume 1 Issue 4, October 1993
Los Angeles, 1995
Privacy fanzine Volume 2 Issue 5 May / June 1995
Neurotic Outsiders, 1995
John: Group interview with The Groove fanzine 'and others' at his B5 studio, 16 September 1995.
Eddie Merrick: fan review for God Save The Sex Pistols website
John: In The Pleasure Groove autobiography, p369 (2012)
Boston ticket picture Duran Duran archive
Mandy Jones: fan review for Cherry Lipstick, Volume 2 Issue 21, June 2001
John solo, 1997:
Warren: Interview for the Dutch Go Duran fanzine, Issue 37, July 1997
Esther Habraken and Manon Wortel, fan review for The Dutch Go Duran fanzine, Issue 38, October 1997
Nick: Statement on duranduran.com, 10 May 2001
Nick: The Guardian, 16 November 2003
Andy: Wild Boy autobiography p229, 2009
Warren: Blurt, 'Blatent and Pervasive Chicanery' interview by Gil Macias, 4 June 2010
Simon, The Quietus, Boys On Film, by Simon Price, 17 March 2011
John: In The Pleasure Groove autobiography, p384 (2012)
Simon, The Guardian, 10 September 2015
Complete official tour list:
Essential facts on Duran tours: Setlist.fm