Without a record contract or a management team, Duran Duran hit the road and still managed to fill up the sheds for a five-week summer tour. Best known for its 80s hits such as "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "Rio," the band's 1997 release Medazzaland was also well received. "It was great because this time out the band didn't even have a new album to promote," says Alex Reardon. "It was all done on the Duran Duran name."
Working not only as LD but also as production manager, stage manager, and occasional rigger, Reardon provided big looks for the band's show--and managed to fit everything in two trucks. "It was hard work, but it was a good learning curve and I enjoyed it," he says. "It was a dream to work with these guys because they gave me carte blanche to do what I like. They didn't want an all-singing, all-dancing pop extravaganza. They just wanted nice, big looks."
With white voile cycs above, behind, and flanking the stage, Reardon was able to project lighting and images all around the band. "We had a flared box truss with very lightweight white voiles creating an internal projection space for a 5k and two 600W projectors," Reardon says. "They were operated by Gary Oldknow and supplied by London-based Vegetable Vision--they did all the imagery for the show, including some 5k scrolling slides and some propellers in front of the lenses to create strobe effects. It was very high-tech and low-tech at the same time, which was nice."
Alan Chesters of UK-based Hangman provided the voiles. "They even worked well in the sheds where you'd imagine they might blow out completely," Reardon says. "They are thin enough that the wind almost goes through them. With some tactical positioning of sandbags, we were fine. It was a very simple show."
Light & Sound Design (LSD) supplied the tour's lighting; crew chief Mario Corsi and Icon technician Wendy Fletcher assisted Reardon on the road. Equipment included: 14 Icon(R) automated luminaires, 11 High End Systems Studio Colors(R), six High End Cyberlights(R), one Icon Console(TM), 48 PAR-64s, 36 single-cell cyclights, three Mole-Richardson 8-light Molefays, four Wildfire UV lights, three LSD ColourMag(R) color changers, nine Diversitronics strobes, and two Reel EFX DF-50 haze machines.
"We had a lot of fun out there, doing all the classic Duran Duran hits with big, rich, pretty picture looks and mixing in some of the newer songs, which were very asymmetric and a little more interesting to light. The sets went down really well with the audiences. They also did a cover of the old rap song 'White Lines, Don't Do It,' which was a hoot to do. We've already started brainstorming the next tour."
The band recently signed with Hollywood Records, will release a new album next year, and is planning a subsequent tour.