The year 2017 was a good year for revisiting old friends as they returned to remind us that they truly still “got it.” In the past year, Parklife DC reviewed a great deal of musicians and bands, and the performances that really distinguished themselves often came as something of a pleasant surprise.
“Did you get your smoked salmon and your caviar? Or is anybody hungry?” roared Simon LeBon, introducing “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran on New Year’s Eve.
Booked for a special weekend of shows on New Year’s Eve and then New Year’s Day 2017, Duran Duran fed a ravenous sold-out crowd song after song at The Theater at MGM National Harbor Saturday, fielding one of the very first concerts in the brand new casino and entertainment complex on the cusp of DC city limits in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
As we fast approach 2017, we at Parklife DC resolve to see more shows. And we are starting our year off with a bang, as I’ll be catching Duran Duran at the new Theatre at MGM National Harbor on Sunday, Jan. 1.
Duran Duran actually will perform two shows at MGM National Harbor, marking the venue’s fourth- and fifth-ever performances on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. (Boys to Men, Lionel Richie, and Bruno Mars already have played there.) And tickets already are sold out for Duran Duran’s New Year’s Eve show, which takes you right up until midnight. I toured the Theatre recently, and I can assure you it is a delightfully designed space that feels very intimate on the ground floor.
Watch the official music video for “The Reflex” by Duran Duran (a song on their most recent setlist) on YouTube:
Duran Duran last performed in DC on April at the Verizon Center in an outstanding show that included their longtime friend and mentor Nile Rodgers. (Read our Parklife DC review of that show.) The band most recently performed only last night, Dec. 29, in Cancun, Mexico. That setlist included a massive amount of favorites, and largely mirrored the setlist from their Paper Gods Tour, undertaken in support of their most recent album.
In their encore last night, Duran Duran performed “Save a Prayer,” which they dedicated to their late friend George Michael. (Who else remembers that Simon LeBon joined Wham! onstage for “I’m Your Man” during their final shows at Wembley Stadium?)
For those who have been following such things, the amazing Nick Rhodes will participate in the MGM National Harbor shows, after taking some time off earlier this year due to a sickness in his family.
MGM National Harbor
Sunday, Jan. 1
I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.
That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.
Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)
In the past year, I’ve reminisced much on the passing of David Bowie, whose unexpected death in January marked a year of remembrances of the great musician and his legacy.
And many of these remembrances involved a good deal of dancing and absorbing live performances from wonderful artists that took the time to remember Bowie as well. Here then are 10 top Bowie covers that I saw in my time reviewing shows for Parklife DC in 2016.
Duran Duran photographed for Melody Maker Magazine in England in 1982. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
Your live concert review blog Parklife DC hosts a little music party called Careless Memories on the second Thursday of every month at Dodge City (917 U St. NW, DC). And every month, we are inspired to explore some aspect of my favorite music genre — new wave — using some upcoming concert review or related event to which our blog is committed.
As you can imagine then, it makes me very happy to focus on the music of Duran Duran for the month of December, as we take our parties name from a Duran Duran song. The boys from Birmingham are coming to DC metro for two shows at the MGM National Harbor on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The New Year’s Eve show sold out, but tickets remain for New Year’s Day. (Check out our preview.)
Whether you’re going to MGM National Harbor or not, you can join us for a listening experience in appreciation of Duran Duran. In our next party on Thursday, Dec. 8, we’ll explore Duran Duran a bit with a look at their contemporaries and influences. But we’ll also keep in mind that it’s Christmas, so we’ll be sure to play a smattering of new wave Christmas tunes as well. Come and celebrate with us and our theme Duran Duran Save Christmas on Thursday.
I’m waaaaaay overdue in inviting you to watch the official music video for “Rio” by Duran Duran on YouTube:
At Careless Memories, you’ll hear new wave tunes from Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Japan, Culture Club, Simple Minds, the Eurythmics, and Adam Ant (who’s visiting DC in January!). You can also count on hearing a little bit from Duran Duran influencers like David Bowie, Roxy Music, and CHIC.
Admission is free. RSVP on Facebook, or simply show up and say Merry Christmas!
For more from our fantastic photographer friend Chester Simpson, visit http://www.rock-n-rollphotos.com.
Duran Duran for Melody Maker Magazine in England in 1982. (Photo by Chester Simpson)
This past month, Sting reopened the Bataclan, the Paris concert venue that was shuttered for roughly a year after a horrific terrorist attack. That 2015 terrorist attack occurred during a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal, who days prior to the show performed a cover of “Save a Prayer” by Duran Duran with the band on UK television and then made the cover part of their live set.
In the aftermath of that experience, Duran Duran donated their royalties from the Eagles of Death Metal cover to charity, and then subsequently dedicated live performances of the song to the good in people — as a sort of protest against terror.