We’ve all been at a concert and thought, “Why don’t Duran ever play [insert personal fave old hit / album track / rare b-side].” Or, alternatively, “Why oh why did they play [insert pet peeve] for the gazillionth time????”
Certainly, when you look back over the years, various Duran set lists can look a bit… samey.
So, Cherry Lipstick set out to investigate by – BECOMING THE BAND!
Yes, four of us had to negotiate, persuade and convince the others of what should be played at a Duran show. But there were rules. (There are always rules).
It had to be realistic – this was to be a show for the masses, not the die-hards. To that end, what we had to create a 17-song set list that included these restrictions:0
· 5 from Future Past;
· At least 5 big hitters from 1981-86;
· 1 new cover version.
This seemed to be within Duran Duran’s own rules of how they create a setlist. The question was: would we come up with something substantially different to them, or find that the limitations of playing to 5,000 people (4,500 of whom had not heard anything much since Arena) box us in? In other words, was this experiment at super-fans ‘proving’ to the band that we knew best going to die by compromise to the committee of blandness leaving no one happy?
The four of us drew up our set list independently from the above rules and had a discussion to whittle them down to the final 17. Any song that scored four votes (i.e. we all picked it) from the initial lists was automatically in.
So, after your editor struck off clever attempts at boosting the 17 song limit by choosing medleys, this is how it started:
(P.S. This meeting was held just after the BBC Radio 2 concert recording).
5 from Future Past:
4 votes: Anniversary (IN! - 1)
3 votes: Invisible, Give It All Up, All of You.
2 votes: Future Past
1 vote: all the others
Adam: Incredibly between us we have chosen all 12 songs off Future Past!
Ben: If we choose Give It All Up, will Tove Lo turn up?
Ruth (who didn’t pick Invisible): I liked it tonight. People know it. We’ve all known it for so long. It’s been a good opening track. I am prepared to concede on it. (Invisible – IN! - 2)
Chris (who didn’t pick Give It All Up): I’m prepared to accept it if you [Adam] are prepared to shift on All Of You.
Adam: Done! (Give It All Up and All Of You – IN! 3 and 4)
Chris: Future Past is my least favourite song, but I think it’s the one they’re most likely to play as the title track. It fills the space that What Are the Chances took on the last tour.
Adam: I thought it would sound good as the first song of the encore.
Ben: I think it will be hard to sing live.
Ruth: Over my dead body is that getting on our set list!
Adam: There’s no way I’m going near Tonight United or Beautiful Lies.
Ruth: I’m with you there.
Adam: We do, of course, need some slower ones, so I’m moving towards Nothing Less. That might replace my pick of More Joy.
Chris: Wing and Nothing Less are two of my favourites. I was the one who picked Tonight United!
Ben: I went with Wing… Erol Alkan is bound to join them at some point. Wing has a classic Arcardian vibe and for an anniversary tour, that might appeal to the audience.
Ruth: I did pick Nothing Less and I think the end could be more atmospheric than Wing. I also picked Hammerhead.
Chris: They rotated Chains in on some Astronaut shows and I think that occupies the same space as Nothing Less on Future Past. There’s a precedent to play a song like that.
Ben: They’ll want a new song that gets the audience singing along, and at the Isle of Wight festival, whatever you think of Tonight United, it got a good reception. People were managing to sing along. It doesn’t have the depth of Wing, but has an instant gratification. Maybe Hammerhead is similar. Stripped down you can sing along and get the groove, as opposed to needing a few listens, which you can’t say about Nothing Less did for me. When so many are in the crowd for nostalgia, Hammerhead might be in their head when they are walking home and thinking of getting the album.
Ruth: My favourite thing about Hammerhead is the gospel-infused chorus, and the groove, but there’s different things to enjoy about both of the tracks. Tonight United has the lyrical call-backs which I personally don’t like, but I think the nostalgia-seekers will get that.
Adam: I appreciate that Ben has been there and seen Tonight United work. Chris, are you interested in changing your mind and moving from your picks of Tonight United and Falling?
Chris: I agree with what Ben said. Hammerhead would be a good one. Give It All Up is a slower one. We may yet have Save A Prayer, Ordinary World and Come Undone, so how many slow songs do we need? Ruth – are you pushing for Hammerhead?
Ruth: I think post-Covid the appetite for slow songs is going to be thin on the ground.
Chris: Yup – I go for Hammerhead.
Ben: Sure. (Hammerhead – IN! 5) By the way, these are the songs they played tonight, so we are the band!
5 (minimum) from 1981-86
4 votes: Planet Earth (IN! 6)
3 votes: Hungry Like The Wolf, Girls on Film, Rio
2 votes: Notorious, Wild Boys, A View To A Kill, Save A Prayer
1 vote: Is There Something I Should Know?, Union of the Snake, The Reflex.
Adam: Of those with three votes, are we just going to say ‘Oh we can’t NOT have those ones’? Ben, you chose all of them – and so did Chris!
Ben: I’d play Rio as the opener. The way it is, when Rio starts, I feel like going. I just left at the second Birmingham show when it started.
Adam: I’m as bored as hell with Rio, but I’d love to hear a medley in the final song where they flip from the ‘do dos’ from Rio into Anniversary with THAT being the big finish.
Ben: They need to be more creative, like on the RCM electro set. It was a clever way to get their hits in there, like All She Wants Is. A mash-up of 4 or 5 tracks could really work. The long version of Anniversary got boring in Birmingham.
Ruth: The thing is they finish with Rio all the damn time. I could live with it, possibly, somewhere else. It’s just one big formulaic cliché these days. It’s not the song for me.
Ben: It’s just all too predictable.
Chris: They started with it in ’82.
Ben: A lot of people just wait patiently for the new ones to finish so they can get on to Rio. So - play it first! Then they might listen more closely to the new stuff.
Adam: I feel the same way about Hungry Like The Wolf, and I didn’t vote for it, so can you talk me into it?
Ben: Kids all know it, and so if they are there with their parents, it works for them. If the guitars are turned up so it works for me.
Ruth: I kinda forgot about Girls On Film. I prefer it to Rio. I can live with it. (Girls On Film – IN! 7)
Adam: Of those with two votes, who feels any of them have to be there?
Chris: I’m going to fight for Notorious.
Ben: Maybe mash it up with Pressure Off?
Ruth: Notorious has been covered enough and gets recycled a lot.
Adam: It is perhaps their most recognisable track after Rio and Hungry Like The Wolf.
Ben: Notorious can be a bit lazy but newer tracks could be wrapped around it. (Notorious – IN! 8)
Adam: We are yet to choose any tracks from Rio. We can have more, it was only a minimum of 5 to force us to choose some!
Ben: What needs a rest?
Ruth: I hate A View To A Kill and Wild Boys live. They are both getting murdered.
Ben: They played Wild Boys late in the set so people were drunk by then, and it was a crowd pleaser. I think we’ve all heard these songs enough. I vote for Save A Prayer out of those left.
Chris: I’m happy with that. (Save A Prayer – IN! 9)
Adam: What are going to finish with, if not Rio?
Ruth: Ordinary World.
Ben: I’d go with Girls on Film. Ordinary World is a good choice. It was the penultimate choice in Birmingham. It would create a different vibe.
Ruth: Every time there’s a set list, people think about what’s not there. What else is there?
Adam: Ben voted for Is There Something I Should Know, you [Ruth] chose Union of the Snake, and that’s it.
Ruth: We are in danger of just creating the same set list. What about New Religion which I voted for?
Adam: Well, that’s not a big hit which was the point of this category. For the record, it got 3 votes. The only one who didn’t vote for it was Chris who wrote about is a Lost Treasure in the last issue of Cherry Lipstick. Chris – will you choose to hear it live?
Chris: Yeah, alright. (New Religion – IN! 10)
Adam: Another with two votes was I Don’t Want Your Love.
Ben: I’d love to hear All She Wants Is. It hasn’t been played regularly, for ages. I heard I Don’t Want Your Love on the Paper Gods tour so…
Adam: I think All She Wants Is is better, but does it have the same crowd-recognition?
Chris: Although I’m a Warren fan, he could never play the guitar solo the way it was played on Big Thing. Dom played it much better. It went down great when on the Paper Gods tour with Chic they tossed in Love Voodoo and Notorious as well.
Ben: A version on the Astronaut tour also went down well… (I Don’t Want Your Love – IN! 11)
Adam: So, we are yet to decide on Hungry Like The Wolf or Rio, but as we are skipping around, I can confirm that there was one other track with four votes – Ordinary World (IN! 12). As for others to consider, Ben has picked Is There Something I Should Know and Perfect Day. I chose Late Bar, Hold Me, Skin Divers and Out of My Mind. Ruth has gone for Careless Memories, Sound of Thunder, Falling Down and All You Need Is Now. Chris has gone out to bat for Pressure Off, White Lines and The Reflex.
Ben: Perfect Day worked really well in Birmingham and everyone knows it in the crowd because of Lou Reed, Trainspotting and the charity version. There were gasps in the crowd when it was played – some from fans who couldn’t believe Duran had reached back to Thank You, and others who liked the song and hadn’t expected to hear Duran play it. And then it went into Wild Boys – which worked great!
Ruth: I like the sound of Late Bar. It sounds a little bit indie, and for the hardcore fans they would congratulate themselves on knowing it, and it is punky and short enough to satisfy those who don’t know it.
Adam: I also think the band would enjoy it.
Chris: I love Late Bar.
Ben: I’m not swayed, but I’d love All You Need Is Now. I’d like that album and era to be represented.
Ruth: It’s an alternative to Sunrise. It’s the only one of their forced positivity tracks that I really like.
Ben: Pressure Off is amazing live. But it needs to be later in the set. They’ve nailed it live.
Chris: Looking at it now, I think Rio has to be in. You can get away without Hungry Like The Wolf.
Ruth: I will concede Rio. (Rio – IN! 13)
Adam: We have three slots left (plus the cover version). I was keen on Careless Memories, but wondered if it had been over played and it would make this set list over-80s heavy.
Ruth: I had considered Electric Barbarella but it didn’t make my final list.
Chris: They played it on the Astronaut tour – not well, but they tried. I also love Out Of My Mind. The Perfecto Mix in ’99 was amazing.
Ben: That could be track that so many have forgotten about that it could be mind-blowing.
Ruth: I thought Union of the Snake would have funk, brass, and be upbeat. I’d like to see that fleshed out.
Chris: I would vote Union of the Snake with three John bass solos after each verse…
Ben: I’m not keen on Late Bar. I know it’s popular but I’ve seen it live and it wasn’t that great. It was fine on the reunion tour but…
Ruth: … this is the Anniversary tour!
Adam: I think for that reason Planet Earth and Late Bar would work really well.
Ben: Oh well if it’s just me I’ll agree to Late Bar, but I’m going off to the bar when it’s on. (Late Bar – IN! 14)
Chris: I’m OK with Careless Memories. Fans would love it. But they have played it a lot, even Warren did it. It’s not a rarity. I’d rather hear Perfecto Out of My Mind.
Ruth: Out Of My Mind would have to be the Perfecto remix or it will tank and kill the mood. (Out Of My Mind Perfecto mix – IN! 15)
Chris: If you need a slow one, put Nothing Less in.
Ruth: This is a very early-years heavy set list. There’s nothing from this century in it so far! I did have Falling Down which I think has a beautiful vocal and lyric.
Chris: The band generally ignore every recent album. Apart from Sunrise and now Pressure off, they don’t bother either. I know they did Tempted recently.
Adam: Looking at this list, the only major omissions are Hungry Like The Wolf and Sunrise.
Chris: I’d be keen on Nice instead of Sunrise, which is a similar song from Astronaut.
Ben: Sunrise ticks the box of people knowing what the band are playing. Late Bar, Out Of My Mind and New Religion, plus five Future Past songs is half the set list. There needs to be more easy wins.
Ruth: There’s no more wiggle room in this set list. There needs to be a hit. It needs to be Sunrise or they’ll be too much 80s stuff on it.
Ben: White Lines and Sunrise both get hands in the air. To lose both would be a huge loss. (Sunrise – IN! 16)
And finally, the one new cover version:
Ruth: An Honest Mistake (The Bravery). Mixed with Sound of Thunder. The Bravery referenced Duran a lot when they started. I don’t think people will know the song, but they will recognize it. That can be the way of cover versions.
Chris: Fame (David Bowie). I love it so I’m going with that, not some Lady Gaga thing.
Adam: When We You Young (The Killers). This is to give Dom something to do.
Ben: I think I’d be a bit embarrassed for the band. The Killers are known for tapping into the Duran sound. If Duran are trying leverage the popularity of the Killers – they should be covering Duran. There’s a pride issue here. I picked Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode). I thought that this could mash up with Invisible. It could call and response.
Ruth: I’d love to hear it. (Enjoy The Silence – IN! 17)
So there we have it – no Hungry Like The Wolf or Come Undone, but a chance at a fresh, different set list with due respect to the ‘I like Rio’ crowd. But we are not finished yet…
In Part 2: We have to turn these 17 songs into an actual set list! What will be our show opener? With Rio being a last-minute inclusion, where will it feature in our imaginary show?
Don't forget! You can still grab the new issues of Cherry Lipstick at our online store.
Vol 3 Issue 11 The Future Past souvenir issue including album review, exclusive Duranalysis by Morgan Richter and interview with Merchant
Vol 3 Issue 12 Duran Live 1988-2021. Tales from fans throughout the years.
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