80s pop music icons Duran Duran performed two nights in a row, at Saratoga’s Mountain Winery this past September 10th and 11th. The rustic, intimate vibe of the venue nestled in the vineyards of the Saratoga mountains was in contrast to the glitzy, boisterous image and sound of the new wave band and their production, yet somehow fit right in.
Singer Simon Le Bon was accompanied by drummer Roger Taylor, guitarist John Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and guitarist Dominic Brown. Joining the lineup of classic Duran members were female backup dancers and vocalists, and a saxophonist for select tracks. Dramatic stage lighting and iconic visuals overlaying the architecture transformed the intimate space into what felt like the front of a major amphitheater. One that smelled of pizza. Singer Le Bon quipped that when performing at shows, the strongest smell was usually pot. This time it was pizza. Indeed, it had our stomachs growling.
The band appeared to be genuinely excited to be performing — Le Bon, John Taylor, Brown, and other band members often came together at points in different songs, showing a level of camaraderie and enthusiasm that doesn’t seem to have waned in their four-decade career. Opening with possibly their most well-known song, ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, Duran Duran had the audience standing from their seats for the duration of their set by whipping out tracks like Girls on Film, and Planet Earth, while rewarding their more dedicated fans with deeper cuts like ‘(Reach Up for the) Sunrise’. The set did a good job of touching on a great amount of their heft catalog of music.