“Bon, Simon Le Bon,” as the cheekily charismatic singer introduced himself late in the set, has seen his band triumph at various levels through a fluctuating music brand that has had them topping global charts, adorning teenage bedrooms and selling 100 million records in the process.
“We’re not a jazz band, we’re Duran Duran,” he announced four songs into their headline set for the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival.
The synth-lined rock act are far from the first band to obscure the genre that lends this annual festival its name, but as with many of the leading lights booked in the 16-year run of the thriving Middle East musical fixture this proved to be an inspired choice.
The majority of the audience, of an era when Girls On Film were strutting the pop catwalk around the world, revelled to the likes of The Wild Boys, delivered with early gusto, and the swirling romp Rio, turned in as a closer to a setlist that put barely a foot wrong.
Duran Duran remain pretty much their core original line-up with Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Nick Rhodes - still sporting annoyingly good hair - flanked by musical extras and sassy backing vocalists that raised their live sound in the Dubai night.
Notorious, the elegant Come Undone and Ordinary World, and a welcome Planet Earth that evolved into Space Oddity for a bow to Bowie, demonstrated the band’s ability to redefine the genre that embraced them and keep pace with fickle chart trends.
New albums have come and gone for Duran Duran since then - such as Paper Gods which supplied a brooding, downbeat set opener - but with the sublime Save A Prayer rinsing the night air just before midnight, many here headed home happy that some ‘80s fashion survives, matures, evolves and can still hold its own in a very different decade.
With the musical army that was Sheffield, England’s Renegade Brass Band kicking off the main stage show in precocious hip-hop meets funky jazz fusion, this was a triumphant start to a festival three nighter that has returning soulful favourite John Legend and Latino trailblazer Ricky Martin headlining tonight and tomorrow respectively.