Duran Duran Live In New York ’82
Remembering one of the lesser-known gems in the band’s early career, and a short showcase of the best of their first two records.
Back in the 1980s, you couldn’t move without hearing about Duran Duran. The band attracted massive interest among teens in the manner of the Beatles in the 1960s and many classroom disagreements were had about their looks, songs, and fashions. In 1982, the band closed out the year playing the live broadcast of the MTV New Year’s Eve Rock ‘n’ Roll Ball at the New York Palladium. They played a 45-minute set that was also simulcasted on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. With Andy Hamilton joining the band on stage to play saxophone and additional keyboards, the first five songs were taken from the record Rio, the last three from their self-titled debut.
The insistent synth and drumstick beat heralded “Rio” as the opener, with Simon already dancing around on stage like the band was meant to go on. The second track “Hold Back The Rain” still showcased some of their inexperience with enthusiastic, slightly shouty backing vocals from Andy. But of course, you could easily blame the excitement and the occasion. Simon then shedded his white jacket for “New Religion”. The initial burst of adrenaline appeared to be wearing off and by the end of the song they were all mostly static.
The follow-up “Save A Prayer” offered a chance for a breather of sorts, as it was not as high octane as some of their other hits. Simon joined the guitarists for this song, as well as providing the trademark lead vocals. At the end of the song, the new year was rung in with the rest of the concert continuing to take place in 1983.
Their new single at the time was “Hungry Like The Wolf” on which Simon exhorted the audience to move and the band swung into the new year with a vengeance. He pranced around the stage, clearly having found his second wind during the break. The dry ice swirled and the saxophone wailed while the camera zoomed into close up of the bell of the instrument during “Planet Earth”. This appeared to be Andy Hamilton’s showcase piece, as the camera swapped between group shots and focusing on him. Hurling himself around the stage, climbing the drum riser, and clapping along urging the audience to dance, Simon was clearly having fun at the time of “Careless Memories”. Relief at having made it through the set, perhaps, who knows?
The band closed the set with a storming ten-minute long version of “Girls On Film”, which was opened by the famous camera shutter sound. Simon wielded the tambourine and the band all shouted the chorus joyfully. Towards the end of the piece, Simon led the audience in clapping the beat as he introduced the band members one by one before the band winded up into the final coda.
This gig is probably one of the lesser-known gems in the band’s early career, and a short showcase of the best of their first two albums. The video is well worth a watch, and for Duranies everywhere, will bring back vivid memories of the time.