WHAM DURAN were created out of necessity during 1993 to try and meet the growing demand for eighties tribute acts, on the college and university circuit. A lot of other acts that jumped on to the "eighties tribute band wagon" have been lost along the way, either due to lack of demand on an individual level, or just the fierce competition of rival acts doing a similar or virtually identical show.
But the cream, as they say, always rises to the top, and this act is not one of the best tribute acts available for nothing. Indeed you do need a fairly healthy budget to accommodate this one, but in return you are going to witness an incredible experience. When WHAM!DURAN was formed, the attention to detail dictated that it was going to take at least three months of preparation, and a further three months of rehearsing.
The songs of Duran Duran and Wham! that were going to be used in the original set of WHAM!DURAN's show, were not songs where skimping on the task of live re-creation, could ever have been an option. And rightly so. By the very nature of what a tribute band does, cutting any corners only opens up an avenue for criticism. But this did mean a lot of hard work for dedicated professionals, on a mission to achieve the next best thing to a Wham! or Duran Duran gig, - a WHAM!DURAN gig.
As well as drafting in one of the original trumpet players from the early Wham! days (Colin Graham), the band also had a fortunate break when they tried to locate Andy Hamilton, who as well as being one of George Michael's no.1 sax players (Fastlove etc.,) he had also been the man behind the distinctive sax solo in "Rio" by Duran Duran. However, Andy wasn't available to play in WHAM!DURAN, but his brother Steve was, and perhaps more appropriately, Steve's saxophone was the very one behind the solo, as he had managed to inherit the instrument from Andy some time before. So that was the brass section in place, and for anybody familiar with dealing with musicians, you could say that was almost the hardest part out of the way!
The rhythm section was fairly straightforward to organise, competent, versatile professional players were located and advertisements went out for a George Michael / Simon Le Bon sound-a-like. It soon clicked into place when singer Simon King convinced us "I'm your man", and the original set list was drawn up and rehearsed. The songs were as follows: Wham Rap, Young Guns, Bad Boys, Club Tropicana, Careless Whisper, Wake Me Up, Edge of Heaven, Notorious, View to a Kill, Skin Trade, Rio. The act then went into rehearsals for months, paying meticulous attention to reproducing not only the core of each song, but also percussion including congas, bongos, tambourine, synthetic snare and tom-tom sounds, handclaps, sequenced effects, special effects (e.g. the fade in effect at the very start of Rio, and the camera clicks at the top end of Girls on Film).
In fact it is fair to say that every sound that ever got recorded on the original song, was accounted for in reproduction terms by WHAM!DURAN. When rehearsals were completed, and indeed, an additional female backing vocalist was recruited, the final attention went into costumes and visual creativity. Once these issues had been addressed, WHAM!DURAN were ready to gig. After a dozen or so performances, certain changes were made to the act and personnel, most interestingly the songs in the set were changed. Out went Wham Rap, Careless Whisper, Notorious, View to A Kill, Skin Trade, and in came I'm your Man, Everything She Wants, Planet Earth, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Girls on Film. The changes proved to be just the right recipe to propel the act into incredible demand sustaining a level of success, which surpassed all expectations. The current set has reverted back to using some of the songs that were earlier discarded, and have been placed at a more suitable part of the set. The current seventy minute show plays through the following: Planet Earth, Notorious, Hungry Like the Wolf. Girls on Film, Rio, Edge of Heaven, Young Guns, Club Tropicana, Freedom, Bad Boys, Wham Rap! Everything She Wants, I'm Your Man and Wake Me Up before you Go-Go. Also, seasonal adjustments include the incredibly popular Last Christmas.