Photos + Review: Duran Duran & Nile Rogers at Sleep Train Amphitheatre (Chula Vista, CA)

Duran Duran (Birmingham, England) and Chic Featuring Nile Rogers (New York, NY)
August 2nd, 2016
Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA

Let me start this review by stating the ultimate understatement of the decade, “No one can get the crowd going like Nile Rogers and Chic can.”  Call it a 70’s revival, call it a pure funkadelic meltdown, there is nobody that could  hold still while Nile Rogers is playing.  His smile is truly contagious from the moment he takes front stage.  When he tells you “Everybody Dance” it is a command, not a simple invitation and you can’t help but to humbly obey. His set list was a sweet flow of pure timeless gold, from hits of Chic to songs he masterfully wrote for artists such as Diana Ross and  Sister Sledge.  His talent blunt and unequivocal from the first riff to the very last.

And then Duran Duran takes the stage to the beats of “Paper Gods.”  Fans were screaming so loud you couldn’t hear the intro from the barricade.  “Paper Gods” is by far my favorite track from the new album and a great start for their set.  I love everything about this song, from the political undertones that are in clear contrast with the catchy synthesized beats, to the addicting crescendo of the beats that seem to be melting with the eloquent and almost delicate vocal talent of Simon LeBon.  Not to mention the classic one-liners that seem flashing in and out of our minds, and on the screen behind them on stage as well.

I feel Duran Duran rode the wave of MTV’s pumped plastic music video years but stayed on top of the waves because of their underlying depth that went far beyond pretty faces, trendy clothes, and over-the-top videos.  Don’t get me wrong, those music videos are classics that just can’t quite go out of style.  But as a band, Duran Duran were too often mistakingly identified as the ultimate fun party band that had nothing more to offer than lighthearted songs and pretty girls on the screen.

In my opinion what makes them great is their well -masked raw sarcasm hidden by catchy beats such as “Girls On Film” or “Notoious.”  The melancholic “Ordinary World” which further proved they were nothing but extraordinary marking one of their many “comebacks” in 1993.

A favorite moment…Simon introducing Nile Rogers.  Giving the audience a little background info on their first collaboration as he joins Duran Duran on stage for “Notorious” and “Pressure Off.” This is the moment for me when this larger than life icon I grew up idolizing became very real, very human and more beautiful than ever.

Another amazing highlight of the night was, “Planet Earth” which lead into a “Space Oddity” tribute to the late David Bowie.  Just seeing Bowie’s face on the screen made the tears flow…Simon singing “Space Oddity” was one of those moments that will be forever imprinted in my mind.

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Still the best moment of the entire night was when I caught myself repeatedly with my camera just resting in my hands because I felt compelled to just sing along, and stare teary eyed at them on stage.  (I wonder if they realize how big of a deal it is for some photographers, most of us are fans first and foremost).  Photographers get three songs and they couldn’t have picked harder songs for me to photograph, or three better songs for me to melt to.  I mean how do you not sing and bounce along to “Paper Gods,” “Wild Boys,” or “Hungry Like The Wolf?”

And as I sit here typing about the next great moment I noticed pretty much every song was a highlight, every moment an unbelievable experience that needs to be noted one way or another.  I saw them last year around the same time when they came around promoting “Paper Gods” and they just seem to be getting better, more in tune with one other and just more open and funny.  More intimate, they just have a way of reaching you that I can’t quite put into words.

The one thing I can tell you is if they come near you, you do not want to miss this show!  They are out of this world and if they choose to come back next year around my birthday again I will certainly be there!

Chic Featuring Nile Rogers Setlist:

1- Everybody Dance
2- Dance, dance, dance, yowsah, yowsah, yowsah
3- I want your Love
4- I’m coming Out (Diana Ross Cover)
5-Upside Down (Diana Ross Cover)
6- He’s The Greatest Dancer (Sister Sledge Cover)
7- We Are Family ( Sisier Sledge Cover)
8- Get Lucky
9- Let’s Dance (Bowie Cover)
10 – Le Freak
11- Good Times/ Rapper’s Delight

Duran Duran Set List:

1- Paper Gods
2- The Wild Boys
3- Hungry Like The Wolf
4- A View to Kill
5-Come Undone
6- last Night In The City
7- What are The Chances
8- Notorious – With Nile Rogers
9- Pressure Off – With Nile Rogers
10- Planet Earth + Snippets of Space Oddity – Bowie Tribute
11-Ordinary World
12-I Don’t Want Your Love
13- White Lines ( Don’t Do It)  – Grandmaster Flesh and Melle Mel Cover
14- ( Reach Up For The ) Sunrise + Snippets of New Moon on Monday
15- The Reflex
16 – Girls On Film
Encore
17- save a Prayer
18 – Rio

Thoughts?

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