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‘You’ve got to play ‘Rio”: Duran Duran makes Las Vegas Strip return

Updated May 3, 2024 - 11:38 am

The conversation with the rock star turns to James Bond themes.

I offer, “I say the best Bond theme ever is ‘A View to a Kill.’”

The rocker answers, “I might argue with that, but thank you.”

This person is Taylor … John Taylor.

We know him as the bassist for Duran Duran, the man who played on the 1985 Bond theme from the film of the same name.

The song was an immediate fan favorite, the only Bond song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

But it’s not the favorite of Taylor, performing with the band Friday and Saturday at Encore Theater.

“I think ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is good,” Taylor says during a Zoom chat from his home in L.A..

“‘Live and Let Die?’” I ask.

“Yeaaaah,” says Taylor. “I like the Billie one (“No Time to Die,” which won an Oscar).”

Taylor listens to a lot of Bond songs. He is a noted Bond devotee. It was his idea, in fact, to pitch a Bond song when the film was being planned.

“I did a podcast on Bond teams recently, and I was always like this John Barry purist, you know, like I was about Sean Connery. I didn’t like anything else.” Taylor says, mentioning Barry as the composer of 11 of the first 14 Bond themes. “I listened to all the last 20 years of Bond themes. They are all kind of cool. It’s become a super-cool song contest, hasn’t it?”

Sure. And here, “View” is still champ. Hopefully they play it, so I can rush the stage.

Taylor ticks off the songs Duran Duran has to play in any show.

“You’ve got to play “Ordinary World, you’ve got to play ‘Rio,’ you’ve got to play ‘Girls on Film,’ you’ve got to play ‘Come Undone,’” Taylor says. “But we go through periods where we play them a lot, and then we go, ‘You know what? We can leave that one out.’

“Thankfully, it’s a quality problem, because we’ve quite a few songs that people will want to hear.”

Taylor and band co-founder/keyboardist Nick Rhodes, singer Simon LeBon and drummer Roger Taylor are Duran Duran’s current roster. The band is still an arena or even stadium touring act, headlining Cruel World Festival at the Rose Bowl on May 11.

The Rose Bowl seats 92,542. Encore Theater seats 1,480.

LeBon, in mirthful fashion, said in September 2022, “Compared to the places we normally play, this seems like a well-appointed bathroom.”

It’s a cozy experience, in which Duran Duran has flourished rather than flushed. The band’s Halloween show from ‘22 was the inspiration for the 2023 album, “Danse Macabre.” The show was also banked for a yet-to-be released concert film.

“That’s going to be coming out, I think probably next Halloween,” Taylor says. “That was a very particular show that we play, that actually spawned an album and is probably going to spawn more shows. You get to do things like that in Vegas.”

Great expectations

Prior to Sunday night’s late performance of “Rouge” at The Strat Showroom, I congratulated the married couple Zion Martyn (who plays Dr. Libido) and Poppy Fairbairn (Nurse Naughty) for their shared success.

I was referring to the show’s recent two-year anniversary and 1,000th performance.

But Martyn said, “Thank you! You noticed!” and motioned to Fairbairn’s belly. She is six months pregnant. She is also performing the full complement of acrobatics in the show (including being flipped multiple times by her husband’s legs).

The couple have been cleared by their OB-GYN to continue to perform in the show. We aren’t certain for how much longer. But this is the most extensive work I’ve seen by a pregnant performer ever in Las Vegas.

Cool Hang Alert

David Tatlock’s Soul Juice Band, which will rock yo’ face off, plays OG Sand Dollar Lounge on Polaris Avenue and Spring Mountain Road from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday. Expect new music off the band’s next album. What’s also fresh? The pizza. Try it. No cover.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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