Duran Duran delights Wells Fargo Center with Nile Rodgers & CHIC - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Thursday Night down Broad Street at the Wells Fargo Center, fans stepped through a time machine bringing some of the greatest hits of the 80’s by legendary artists Duran Duran and Nile Rodgers & CHIC, with support from the veteran British modern rock band Bastille for a night of endless entertainment.

People that arrived early had the pleasure to see Bastille kickoff the evening. Frontman Dan Smith and keyboard/guitarist Kyle Simmons set the energy levels high, bouncing throughout the stage and leaping off amplifiers throughout the set. Crowds cheered on as they played global hit songs “Good Grief,” “survivin’,” “Happier” and their first big hit “Pompeii” off the debut record Bad Blood.

Bastille | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

Shortly after, Nile Rodgers and CHIC brought back the party dropping right into “Le Freak” with Rodgers taking center stage accompanied by vocalists Kimberley Davis and Audrey Martells in stunning orange disco satin dresses. Bassist Jerry Barnes lays down the groove of “Everybody Dance” and everyone on the floor moved to the beat, under the spell of infectious funky grooves coming from the stage. Barnes joined center stage and the four hyped up the crowd even more with a synchronized two-step dance. They performed two more CHIC originals “ Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” and “I Want Your Love” before riding a soul train of Rodger’s greatest songwriting hits fueled by his signature rhythm guitar.

Dancing in the seats of Wells Fargo almost felt like a Jukebox Musical with the nonstop classics like Diana Ross “I’m Coming Out/Upside Down” followed by Sister Sledge’s “He’s The Greatest Dancer/We Are Family.” Rodgers reflects on his work with Madonna before playing “Like a Virgin/Material World.” He then reminded the crowd that Daft Punk’s global no. 1 hit “Get Lucky” celebrated a 10 year anniversary this past April. Rodgers’ Bowie collaborations got a highlight with “Modern Love” and “Lets Dance,” where drummer Ralph Rolle read the Philly vibe with a classic call and response drum break getting everyone in the crowd involved. The disco legends wrapped up their set on “Good Times” with Rodgers hitting a vocal verse of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”

Nile Rodgers and CHIC | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

Duran Duran began their set with the full production: playing a short film of some otherworldly astronauts on the two large moving screens as the stage began to fill with a dense fog. Fans cheered on as original members Roger Taylor (drums), John Taylor (bass), Simon Le Bon (vocals), and Nick Roades (keys) take center center-stage silhouetted by the bright lights. The band members took to their instruments bringing the new wave music of “Night Boat” and leaving singer Simon on top the steps with an eerie red glow of visuals of hands reaching out. From the floor, the stage felt even bigger than the previous two acts, with the drums and keys masked behind the screens on the now on the stage rather than suspended. They kicked up the tempo with “Hungry Like the Wolf” early in the set. Taylor could be seen powerfully moving around the stage joining touring guitarist, Dominic Brown, hyping up the crowd with the flare of their guitars.

Following that performance, the iconic 007 intro played on the screens while they go into “A View To Kill,” the no.1 single written for the 1985 Bond film sharing the title. Throughout the set the band played new tracks off recent albums, like “GIVE IT ALL UP” and “ANNIVERSARY” from 2021’s Future Past. Other highlight tracks throughout the set included “Notorious” “Lonely in Your Nightmare” with a Rick James “Super Freak” outro, and “Friends of Mine” which featured Universal’s classic monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Phantom of the Opera on screen (on this track, the crowd camera ran through augmented filters making individuals look like ghouls on the rail). Simon took a moment to reflect on the negativity in the world and assured everyone that everything will get better eventually and dedicated “Ordinary World” to the people of Ukraine. The hit parade continued with “Come Undone” sung as a duet with backup singers.

Duran Duran | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN

They closed out the set with “Girls On Film” with a bridge of new lyrics stating “it was acceptable in the 80’s” referring to the song’s lyrics and controversial music video that most likely would not have come to life in this age. Fans cheered the band back onstage for an encore performance of favorite tracks “Save a Prayer” and “Rio” both off the multi-platinum album Rio.

Social media and people who attended the Beck concert the following night confirmed that French Indie band Phoenix and Duran Duran spent the afternoon at the Barnes Museum and exploring the city of Philadelphia together. The Future Past Tour concludes it North American tour next week in Toronto, making another regional stop in Washington DC won Wednesday, September 13th.

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