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Duran Duran infront of Birmingham arena
Image: Shutterstock / Stephanie Pistel

‘The roar was something I’ll never forget’: Duran Duran on the Birmingham venue they love the most

Drummer Roger Taylor of the legendary pop group tells us why Utilita Arena Birmingham feels like home

Georgia Evans
Written by
Georgia Evans

Duran Duran started their careers in Birmingham more than 40 years ago. Since then, the band have sold over 100 million records, achieved 30 Top 40 UK singles (‘Rio’, ‘Girls on Film’, ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’: you know them) and, in 2022, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In the build-up to their 16th album, ‘Danse Macabre’ – a collection of covers and new songs exploring the band’s darker melodies – drummer Roger Taylor tells us why performing in their native Birmingham this year was a symbolic return for the group. 

‘I’ve got really special memories of the night we played at Utilita Arena back in May. We felt so much love from the audience and it was a real homecoming show. It’s an arena but it doesn’t feel cold, it feels quite intimate. The location is really beautiful because it’s in the area where all the canals in the town meet, so it feels like you’re really in the centre of Birmingham. 

‘That was also our neighbourhood when we were growing up. We’d play ‘Rum Runner’ in the early eighties to 100 people, so to go back there more than 40 years later, playing to 10,000 or 12,000 people, it really was quite a moment.

We can be playing New York’s Madison Square Garden or the Hollywood Bowl in LA, but Birmingham is always the most important show

‘The roar when we walked out to the crowd is a particular standout memory: we started the show [like we were] coming in from space via screen footage, on this kind of spaceship which landed at the back of the arena. I think it’s all about the audience and the vibe they bring to a venue – because when these places are empty, they’re all kind of similar. It’s the people that make it, and they certainly did that night.

‘There’s something even more special about Utilita because it’s where we come from. We always have family in Birmingham: my father still comes to see us and he’s nearly 89, our kids tend to travel to that show too because they know it’s going to be special. We can be playing New York’s Madison Square Garden or the Hollywood Bowl in LA, but Birmingham is always the most important show.’

Duran Duran's Halloween-themed album ‘Danse Macabre’ is out on October 27 via Tape Modern for BMG. Find out more and download or stream here

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