Commonwealth Games: Duran Duran to headline opening ceremony in Birmingham

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Duran Duran performed at London's Hyde Park earlier this monthImage source, PA
Image caption,
Duran Duran played at London's Hyde Park earlier this month

Duran Duran will headline the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in their home city of Birmingham next week, organisers have announced.

The pop group will perform on the same bill as fellow local musician Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).

Singer Simon Le Bon said he was "honoured" to play the homecoming gig.

Peaky Blinders director Steven Knight will executive produce the event, which will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Duran Duran formed in Birmingham in 1978 and went on to become leading figures of the 1980s new romantic scene with hits like Hungry Like the Wolf, Girls on Film and Rio.

After a brief hiatus in the mid-80s, they reunited and scored another worldwide hit with Ordinary World in 1993. They continue to tour and record, and recently headlined the BST festival in London's Hyde Park.

"The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a momentous event for the great city of Birmingham," said Le Bon in a statement. "And we in Duran Duran are honoured to be a part of it in our home town."

'Tell Birmingham's story'

Also on the night, Grammy-winning guitarist Iommi and saxophonist Soweto Kinch will lead a dream sequence entitled Hear my Voice, based on the title track from 2020 film Trial of the Chicago Seven, re-imagined by Birmingham-born R&B vocalists Indigo Marshall and Gambimi.

Mezzo-soprano Samantha Oxborough, a graduate of The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, will also perform the national anthem with the CBSO.

Theatre producer Iqbal Khan said it has been "an unbelievable honour" to guide the artistic direction for the opening ceremony.

"Since setting out on this journey, I wanted to tell Birmingham's story and I wanted to tell it right - to show that there is a vivid and vibrant confidence about this place," said Khan, who worked alongside rapper Joshua 'RTKal' Holness on the ceremony's soundtrack

"It's the music of this city that truly gives it its voice, and this stunning line-up will connect with a global audience, as we celebrate the best of Birmingham creativity on an international stage."

Tickets are now available to see Duran Duran and their fellow West Midlanders perform at the newly-refurbished 30,000 capacity Alexander Stadium, which will also host the closing party.

The games will be the first top flight multi-sport event hosted in the UK since the 2014 Glasgow games and before that the 2012 London Olympics.

Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said the upcoming ceremony was "the next blockbuster in our major year of sport and culture - the curtain-raiser for an incredible 11 days of sport".

"London 2012 brought spectacles of this kind to a whole new generation," he added. "Ten years on, this ceremony will connect a new, global audience and showcase the very best of Birmingham and the whole of the UK."

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'It's a Brum Ting' - Commonwealth Games set for Birmingham

The BBC recently revealed that It's A Brum Ting by local reggae act Friendly Fire Band would feature heavily throughout its coverage.

The track features on a bespoke new compilation album, made to celebrate Birmingham's music, culture and diversity ahead of the games. Other local artists on the record include UB40, Dapz on the Map and Sanity.

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