Duran Duran, with support from Jack Savoretti, at Inverness Caledonian Stadium

The double header of events organised by Inverness Live, saw Andrea Bocelli and Duran Duran visit the city. A pair of ambitious bookings for ICT stadium that had previously welcomed Elton John and Rod Stewart. Bocelli was not quite our cup of tea, but it was hard for us not to avoid the retro filled joy of Duran Duran and we were not alone with our excitement.

Despite the ominous showers before the gig, it remained relatively clear in the stadium for  support act Jack Savoretti, certainly a safe pair of hands. The disco pop ‘Who’s Hurting Who?’, co-written with Nile Rodgers, is the second tune of the evening and whilst conjuring up a warm summery sunset, the Inverness weather was not in the mood to help out. It was the bilingual version of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, made famous by Dusty Sprigfield that fully caught the audience’s attention. Whilst Jack serenaded the crowd, they reciprocated and murdered the chorus in equal doses. 

Duran Duran playing Inverness is a big deal, let’s put that into context; next Sunday they headline BST at Headline to around 65000 folk and of course they had headlined Isle of Wight in 2021. They’re a more than worthy addition to the other acts that have played the venue before including, Rod Stewart, Elton John and of course most recently Andrea Bocelli.

For the most part, the audience was made up with people who had experienced the original Duran Duran years, barring a few bored looking teenage girls dragged along, although a special shout out to members of local band Lional who were clearly living their best lives. 

The band took to the stage starting with ‘The Wild Boys’ and we are never that far away from an Eighties hit.  A double bill of tracks from latest album ‘Future Past’ is aired next, firstly with ‘Invisible’ and then ‘All of You’. For the most part it is a nostalgia filled set that impressively manages to capture not just the music but the energy of the Eighties.

Some of the music certainly has a contemporary context with ‘Ordinary World’ holding a particular poignancy with Le Bon dedicating it to the people of the Ukraine with the flag being overlaid on the screens. The inclusion of ‘Acceptable in the 80’s’ sneaking into ‘Girls on Film’ emphasises the playfulness of the band. By the time, last song ‘Rio’ had echoed through the stadium we, along with the majority of the audience I suspect, were spent. An Eighties style gig requiring the energy that most of the audience had in the Eighties!

At a time when Inverness is inevitably losing one of it’s most loved music venues, events like these are really important for putting the spotlight on the music scene of the city. Clearly and sadly elements of the stadium looked sparse and that difficult balance between ticket cost and filling seats perhaps (and only in hindsight) might be reviewed. So too the competing events on in town, it is perhaps idealistic to think that some form of coordination of these high profile events  could be had to avoid the obvious overlap.

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