Eden Rocked by Duran Duran for BBC Music Day
BBC Music Day’s main event came to Cornwall this year and brought quite a line up with them. The main attraction was Duran Duran, whose set was recorded by the BBC and parts also went out live on a program called The One Show; this meant The One Show presenter Alex Jones was at the Eden project to introduce the acts. For this, she was joined by Patrick Kielty and music legend Nile Rodgers. Starting things off was the amazing Izzy Bizu, and from what I’ve been told she was fantastic. Unfortunately, work commitments and the holiday traffic meant that sadly I missed her set. As I did arrive the fans were mulling around the venue awaiting the next act and luckily we didn’t have to wait too long. The above mentioned presenting team addressed the crowd and were then joined by the next act. This came in the form of up-and-coming soul singer Laura Mvula, who seemed to be taken back by the warmth she received from the Eden crowd. The venue was packed, which is unusual for a support act and as the sun shone down on the Eden faithful, Laura and her band set about continuing the party atmosphere. Even though I’m not familiar with her music, it seemed to fit the mood just right. As she stood center stage with her keytar, the one thing that struck me most was her huge smile as if it was a dream come true to play at this iconic venue. The fans around me all seemed to be enjoying the change in pace and perhaps like myself were expecting a support band in the same style as Duran Duran but I guess that’s what BBC Music Day is all about. My only complaint was the fact that just as I had started to really warm to Laura’s music her set came to an end. The upside of this meant it was nearly time for the main attraction.
Now to say this was a band I had never dreamt I would see would be an understatement. My first recognition of Duran Duran was way back in 1984, when I got hold of an album called Now That’s What I Call Music 3 and Duran Duran’s song “The Reflex” was the very first track. This was the first time I had heard them and I loved what I was hearing. It turned out they had had many hits before this and even more after, but it was this track that left a lasting memory and still takes me back to that first listen each time I hear it. Obviously this was way back in 1984 and although these guys still tour occasionally, I had never thought they would be playing just a few miles from my home.
It had now been some time since Laura had left the stage and as the anticipation increased, fans eager to see their 80’s heroes stood patiently waiting. As the event was being shown live on the TV there were lots of things going on backstage and some of the delay was due to interviews for The One Show. As the three strong presenter team made their way back onto the stage it was evident the the waiting was almost over. The crowd listened patiently as the presenters talked to them whilst being filmed and after what seemed like an eternity the presenters made their way of the stage and we were ready to go.
As Duran Duran made their way onto the stage the party was back on track and the volume of the crowds cheers surprised me. As I have been fortunate to attend many gigs at the Eden Project, I have seen the reaction to lots of bands from the waiting crowd and this one was off the scale compared to even the biggest of the others. We had been told that they would be playing a set full of hits and as the first song started I assumed it was a hit I hadn’t yet heard but it turned out to be from their latest album. There were also several other tracks from this album and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who didn’t know these songs. It didn’t dampen the mood as there were plenty of fan favourites amongst the long set. “Wild Boys” saw pyrotechnics light up the stage and as the darkness set in there was also an impressive laser display. Laura Mvula returned to the stage to sing along with “Notorious” and this seemed to fit the song perfectly. As the band played their hit “Planet Earth,” they changed it a little to fit in some of Space Oddity in recognition to David Bowie and this drew a great response from everyone. They also managed to put in a snippet of “Little Red Corvette” in honor of Prince whilst playing “Save a Prayer” and this also received a good response from the crowd. As the band rounded things off with “Rio,” fans in the know were already headed for the exits in an attempt to avoid the traffic jam that often follows an Eden gig. An interesting set, and other than the new material, I enjoyed most of what I heard. As I made my way home it started to dawn on me what I had just witnessed and how I and several thousand other people had seen something quite special.