MM music fans,
Long before there was N’Sync or Backstreet Boys, there was Roger, Andy, John, Nick, and Simon – the band known as Duran Duran. Famous for being one of the first bands to successfully market themselves through their music videos, the original five members of Duran Duran are back together.
Pegged as the Fab Five just as the Beatles were the Fab Four, Duran Duran was part of the second British Invasion. Their music, along with other notables like New Order, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and Human League, was known as New Wave. Duran Duran made their mark on North America back in the early 1980s with their then innovative song “Hungry Like the Wolf” which featured a raw, sexy video set in a jungle village. (A note of interest: since there was no sampling back then, the girl’s voice in the song had to be recorded live and she had to sound the same each time.) It was definitely one way to get the attention of the next generation of music fans who discovered music via MTV and MuchMusic – and let’s not get into the glam rock sex appeal of the band members.
The song “Hungry Like the Wolf” was soon followed with hits such as “Rio” and “Save a Prayer” from the Rio album; “Is There Something I Should Know?”, “Girls on Film” (which caused the biggest controversy at the time over its use of female nudity in the video), and “Planet Earth” from their first album release (which was a re-released self-titled album). Duran Duran’s third album was to provide their biggest hits yet with the dance hit “The Reflex”, the seductive “New Moon on Monday” (this song makes me melt), and “Union of the Snake.” After their “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” tour, Roger, Andy, John, Nick, and Simon produced one more hit song together, “Wild Boys”, and performed at the Live-Aid concert before splitting up into separate music ventures – much to the dismay of their fans. (That’s not to say that Power Station and Arcadia were any disappointment. If anything it proved that the band members could work with different styles of music and allowed them to work with different music artists such as Robert Palmer and Sting. I like all of the tracks on the Arcadia album, So Red the Rose.) Duran Duran, composed of Roger, Andy, John, Nick, and Simon, wouldn’t perform together again until now – 18 years later.
Such was the background and set-up to the atmosphere of last night’s concert at Air Canada Centre, Toronto. Anticipation, as fans, who never thought the original five members would get back together, waited just a little longer (hey, what’s a few more minutes after waiting 18 years?) for the band to come on stage. Soon enough, when the stands were finally filled up, out came Roger, Andy, John, Nick, and Simon with of course Simon leading the way. While the fans showed their appreciation with enormous applause and cheers for just the fact the band members were back together, the band stood on stage seeming to absorb the energy of the audience. Then they started in on their first song that night – the first song off their new album, “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise”. It was a good way to start the show, a relatively lively, upbeat, and happy tune to get the energy going. Then the audience was brought back to the band’s early days with “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Planet Earth”. “Is anyone HUNGRY?!” screams Simon. Of course. Crazy question. It’s been 18 years in waiting to see this band live and they did not disappoint.
The set list (see below) consisted of 6 songs off the new album and many of the hits from before. My all time favourites are “Come Undone” (I always feel like I’m stripping out of my skin when listening to this song), “Ordinary World” (this song along with Edwin’s “Alive” keeps me going when times are tough), and “Save a Prayer”. Of the new songs, I particularly like “Astronaut”, “Bedroom Toys” (which was introduced following the question, “What kind of toys do girls like?”, and “What Happens Tomorrow”. “Nice” is just well… nice. I also like “Tiger Tiger” and “The Chauffeur”, contrary to what some of the reviews have been regarding those songs. “Tiger Tiger” is a brilliant composition I would attribute to Nick. “The Chauffeur” has been pegged as “bizarro” (see review), but I think it’s intriguing and brilliantly written. It was originally a poem Simon wrote years ago, the meaning of which I still have to unravel. The pan pipes add a sound that I personally love and I have to say someone who can play the pan pipes is a true musician, heart and soul. The band did great by placing “Notorious” between “Bedroom Toys” and “Nice”, those songs go great together and if “Bedroom Toys” failed to get one dancing then “Notorious” would do it. Although there was hardly any room to dance properly to those songs, a true dancer at heart can’t resist the beat of those songs. Finally, we get to the real energizers, “The Reflex”, “Careless Memories”, and “Wild Boys”. I have to admit the band performed “The Reflex” quite well live. It’s a difficult song to play live, having to synthesize Simon’s voice at various points. “Careless Memories” is just a lively song, plain and simple. What made it even more memorable was the anime video being played on the screen behind the stage. Inspired by Kill Bill perhaps? The video depicts the band members defending themselves with their musical instruments. Quite humourous. “Wild Boys” is just wild. I have always loved deep drumming sounds and “Wild Boys” has it. The druming is raw, sensuous power.
The encore songs were “White Lines”, “Girls on Film”, and “Rio”. “Girls on Film” and “Rio” are just classic and fun. During “Rio”, of course the band members were introduced starting with the back up singer and saxophone player, Andy Hamilton (who, by the way, originally played with Duran Duran when they started, if I’m not mistaken it’s Andy Hamilton on the saxophone in the “Rio” video). Notably, Simon went prowling the audience for a woman to introduce him as the “incredibly sexy Simon LeBon”. You got to love that man’s ego because hey… no one was going to argue with that statement. The man is still sexy even at age 46, as was evident from the screams that immediately followed the introduction. How can any girl forget Simon in his black leather pants? (Simon, by the way, for all the astrologers out there, is a Scorpio.)
It has been said that if Duran Duran had reunited sooner, perhaps “legions of dedicated, sophisticated popsters might have been spared the indignity that was the boy-band craze”. (Amazon.com reviewer, Tammy La Gorce)
It’s great to see these guys back together. There’s no other five like them.
Later and BB,
Your local webmistress and Duranie
Set list (courtesy of Duran Duran’s website):
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF
HOLD BACK THE RAIN
I DON’T WANT YOUR LOVE
WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW
A VIEW TO A KILL
SAVE A PRAYER
GIRLS ON FILM
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