Duran Duran didn't need to save its hits for last at Coachella on Sunday night. They were all hits, and the crowd couldn't get enough. After all, the New Wave superstars practically wrote the book on mainstream '80s nostalgia.
Not only did Duran Duran break new ground when it came to video technology for its sold-out stadium shows, but the band was among the pioneers of MTV, with professionally directed videos shot on 35 mm film. Anybody who grew up in the '80s -- when MTV was a new phenomenon as powerful as Facebook would be a generation later -- remembers the Sri Lankan odyssey in pre-ironic rock 'n' roll Cheez Whiz that was the 1982 video "Hungry Like a Wolf."
And those who remember harbor deep affection for the British Romantics. For them, Duran Duran occupies the same cozy corner of pre-9/11 pop culture as John Hughes films, "The Price Is Right" and "Family Ties."
During the band's Sunday night mainstage set, singer Simon Le Bon was full of large gestures: strutting, preening, opening arms wide to the massive field as if soaking up the love that wafted toward him from the crowd.
The set was like a party that snowballed into a spirited group celebration of simpler times.