Director: David Lynch
David Lynch directing Duran Duran in a concert film! Oh Wow! Amazing! A weird, dream pairing (or is that weird-dream pairing?) Anyway, have whatever thoughts you want and hold on to them because to actually watch this is to plunge yourself down for a long haul short on hits or great moments as Duran Duran do service to their big video songs from the 1980s, here in stark black’n’white, “stripped back” as if to suggest they are important as songs without the videos, as pieces of songwriting. And Lynch? Well he’s just there for the paycheque. In a Dylan Taite-meets-Tom Waits intro Lynch tells us all how much he loves the Duran and his William Burroughs voice sells a weirdness that isn’t actually – ever – really there.
Then after that he superimposes some images over the band playing – the outline of a wolf for Hungry Like The Wolf, that sort of thing. But he’s about as in-the-moment as Damien Hirst standing over the shoulder of whoever signs his name.
If you’re already feeling like you might be short-changed, this concert was shot and webcast back in 2011 – it makes it to DVD just now and quite why I’ll never understand.
Duran Duran fill up the show with far too many post-comeback songs, Ordinary World being the only post-80s song from the group you need to hear; being an anomaly in the Duran world too – a song that’s actually about the song, not about the strut, the clothes, the video, the era, the girls, the blow. It’s actually – and finally, and always – a song. One of their only.
But even though it’s performed with the usual aplomb it can’t save a show that introduces guests like Kelis and Gerard Way as if they should mean something, that allows Beth Ditto and Mark Ronson onto the stage and still tries to deceptively call itself a show “unstaged”. It is so staged – right down to mutual fawning whenever Simon Le Bon introduces a new bestie-for-life to help him through a dated-sounding song.
Paycheques all round then – well, why not. But don’t try and dress it up as art. Or if you’re going to at least try – it feels so slow, a useless, gasless crawl for the most part.
Further proof that Duran Duran’s great masterstroke was in somehow building a career and now a comeback career on the back of just a handful of songs that all relied on the videos and survive now due to demented nostalgia from uptight yuppies finally wanting to let their hair down in case it should all fall out sooner than they expected.