Duran Duran: A Perfect Picture of Nostalgia at the State Fair

Photo by Ben Allen

Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 07:38 am

The sold-out crowd at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand was neck-deep in nostalgia Thursday night, right where Duran Duran shines best. Even the moon made a perfectly-timed appearance to participate in the festivities.

What needs to be said about Duran Duran that hasn’t already been said? They’ve sold out arena tours, soundtracked a Bond film, been certified platinum on seven releases, and performed for British royalty so many times they might qualify as royalty themselves. They were even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Iron Man.

Photo by Ben Allen

And somehow, there they were at the “Great Minnesota Get Together.” It seemed impossible right up until they took the stage. But could a band that’s been at it for 45 years meet the expectations of over 17,000 rabid fans in attendance?

You’re darn right they can. Their performance was crisp; they moved, writhed, and trotted around the stage like the seasoned veterans they are, and their age didn’t seem to be a factor.

Simon Le Bon’s vocals are perfectly intact. He still has a great range, and his voice is crisp. When they played “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and he had to get deep and grumble, he took care of that as well.

Photo by Ben Allen

I was 5 or 6 when the video for “Hungry…” came out, and I was into it. I loved the song, the video, and everything about it. My sister and I would crawl around the living room floor in front of the TV whenever it came on. It was one of my first musical obsessions, and it still hits me when I hear it.

Photo by Ben Allen

Before they launched into that number, Le Bon provided a little banter and pointed to the moon being in attendance. This was one day removed from a supermoon, and it was still low on the horizon, so it played a perfect role in transitioning into a song with a wolf in the title.

Duran Duran brought some impressive names along with them, including longtime collaborator Nile Rodgers (along with Chic) and Bastille. Unfortunately, I did not make it in time to shoot Rodgers, but from outside of the venue, it sounded like a gigantic party, generating a State Fair-sized portion of FOMO for me.

Photo by Ben Allen

I did make it in time for Bastille, but the atmosphere during their set was tepid, at best. I felt a little bad for them when they asked people to put their hands together and clap along and were met with a whopping three sets of clapping hands from the audience.

Photo by Ben Allen

To their credit, they kept playing as though everybody in attendance clapped along with them.

Photo by Ben Allen

Check out our Minnesota State Fair guide for navigating the “Great Minnesota Get Together.”

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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