Duran Duran Collaboration: Augmented Reality Technology in Live Performance (2000-2001)

Duran Duran’s December 2000 Pop Trash tour featured the world’s first use of augmented reality (AR) technology in a live concert.  Duran Duran and Charmed Technology worked together to create advanced 2D/3D visual effects which allowed animated characters to appear live on stage with the band.

This collaboration began during a backstage meeting before a concert in Los Angeles.  Jarrell Pair gave a simple demonstration of AR technology to band members Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, and Warren Cuccurullo, and the idea of using AR in a live concert was born.

Over the next few months, Duran Duran worked with Charmed’s team of artists and programmers to create custom graphics and effects for December’s tour.

A diverse array of 2D and 3D real-time visual effects were developed.  Many of these effects featured interactive elements.  With this project, Duran Duran continued their tradition of defining the cutting edge of music and technology.  The images, descriptions, and movies below describe the groundbreaking work created for “Hallucinating Elvis,” “Girls on Film,” “The Reflex,” “White Lines,” “Lava Lamp,” “Late Bar,” and more.

The project was documented in this presentation at the 2002 Augmented Reality Toolkit Workshop:

Jarrell Pair, Jeff Wilson, Jeff Chastine, Maribeth Gandy. “The Duran Duran Project: The Augmented Reality Toolkit in Live Performance”. The First IEEE International Augmented Reality Toolkit Workshop, 2002. Download PDF

“Hallucinating Elvis”

A computer animated Elvis was created to “shake, rattle, and roll” with Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon.


“Girls on Film”

Computer generated women danced on top of the crowd and interacted on stage with lead singer Simon Le Bon.

“The Reflex”

In “The Reflex” music video, a giant animated wave appears and drops down on an unsuspecting concert audience.  Nick Rhodes and Jarrell Pair brainstormed to determine if it was possible to generate the same effect, except this time…….make it happen LIVE!!!!!

The team responded to the challenge by creating a giant wave which could be triggered at the exact same time in the live song as it does in the original music video.   See the video here.

“Pop Trash” and “duranduran.com” Logos

These giant 3D logos were rotated above the crowd during breaks between sets resulting in an amazing video effect.

“White Lines”

As Duran Duran performed, live video was twisted and mixed with white strobe-like effects.

“Lava Lamp”

An advanced real time video effects system was used to make the band look like they were actually inside a lava lamp!

“Late Bar”

Live video was warped and mixed with projectionist Gary Oldknow’s video artwork resulting in a high impact, psychadelic, music-visual experience.