Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Duran Duran celebrate 40 years with A Hollywood High docu-concert

By Michael Menachem, Entertainment Editor

Duran Duran’s A HOLLYWOOD HIGH docu-concert film hits big screens worldwide in over 40 countries starting November 3. It premiered in Los Angeles on Thursday at the Dolby Theatre as well as last night in London at Vue West End in Leicester Square via Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, offering viewers an up-close-and-personal look inside the illustrious career of the popular English new wave band.

The 75-minute film has both traditional documentary-style interviews with the Duran Duran from the present day and includes historic moments from the band’s career, coupled with a stylish, non-stop music video component, a format the musicians are no strangers to. The band catapulted onto the global stage with their first self-titled record in 1981, the year MTV launched and it was a sort of symbiotic relationship where Duran Duran powered MTV to the forefront of popular culture just as much as the network showcased the superstars’ songs and videos.

A HOLLYWOOD HIGH includes interviews with lead singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, guitarist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor, detailing their rise in Hollywood, from The Roxy Theatre where Le Bon once received a card from Nina Simone, a 1983 press conference at the famed Magic Castle and a much-deserved nod to guitarist Warren Cuccurullo who played with Duran Duran for 15 years. They talked about beginnings in Los Angeles, admiring the sunny days, palm trees and neon signs while racing from studios to shows to everything in between. The history is a natural segue to the band’s recording home, Capitol Records, arguably the most iconic record label building with its cylindrical design and standing as a landmark today.

The Capitol Records tower is the setting for the concert portion of the film, lit up in the distance while fans enjoy the views on a nearby rooftop, reveling in Duran Duran songs past and present. It’s a stunning backdrop with the Capitol tower and The Hollywood Sign in the distance, as the band plays six new tracks off 2021 release Future Past, including the tune “Anniversary”, which celebrates the storied band’s 40th anniversary. In addition to some other new standouts like “Tonight United”, “All of You” and “Invisible”, Duran Duran play a number of top hits from the 80s and 90s including “Notorious”, “Hungry Like The Wolf”, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone”. The guys also beautifully feature background singers Anna Ross (on “Come Undone”) and Erin Stevenson, clearly showcasing them as a part of the band. With thrilling music, stellar vocals and excellent musicianship aside, one of the emotional takeaways is that Duran Duran has long prided themselves on never stepping out as a super political band, but they did light up the Capitol Records tower in blue and yellow in support of humanitarian efforts for Ukraine. It was a powerful image observing the band playing with the Ukrainian flag colors lit up, and perhaps a takeaway for other acts that it’s possible to have a decades-long career while focusing on the music and the fans without alienating a soul and rather uniting.

The film itself was never intended and attendees at the LA premiere (which was also Simon Le Bon’s birthday) realized this when Nick Rhodes introduced the project. “It was our first post-pandemic show. We ended up on this rooftop and didn’t even know we were making a movie”. Filmed in March 2022, the band says they always have cameras running, documenting their lives and careers but it was a chance to get back out there on the stage to play for fans. John Taylor alerted the fans that a tour is planned for next year across Europe and includes Los Angeles as well as cities they didn’t get a chance to play in the U.S.

A HOLLYWOOD HIGH is the sort of American Dream, for a band, for an American or otherwise. The film is a bit of a love letter to Los Angeles, one of the cities adored by Duran Duran, the home to KROQ where their songs were first played and the location of so much of their story, the debauchery, the fans and their Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Duran Duran remain one of the few acts to rise during the MTV era while still remaining relevant and touring, playing massive shows this year including three at The Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, the Queen’s Jubilee and they are on the cusp of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 27: (L-R) Allison Hagendoff, Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor speak on stage during Duran Duran – A Hollywood High film premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Duran Duran )

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wks26xEaoc&feature=youtu.be

For more information on A HOLLYWOOD HIGH and where to screen the film, visit https://www.duranduranahollywoodhigh.com/

Michael Menachem is a Recording Academy professional member, published music and entertainment journalist, marketing and content specialist and copywriter. His published work has appeared in Billboard, Show Business Weekly, Backstage, New York City Monthly, Hamptons Monthly, PopCrush.com, PassTheAux.co, IndieWavves.com and more with interviews that include Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Maren Morris, Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Kygo, Pitbull, Bebe Rexha, Maxwell, Charlie Puth, Sara Bareilles, Enrique Iglesias, Cyndi Lauper, Nile Rodgers, Gloria Estefan, Hall & Oates, The Pretenders, Motley Crue and more. Michael is a lifetime student of popular culture, an avid hiker and a lover of dogs and hot sauce. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their five succulents.
Twitter: @menoxmusic
Instagram: @menoxmusic
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