Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Duran Duran concert review

I happened to get into Duran Duran's sold out Pacific Amphitheatre show last Saturday at the last minute.

As a diehard fan, I loved hearing some rarities that they haven't done in years or ever: "Do You Believe in Shame" from "Big Thing," part of Chic's "Le Freak" (a major formative influence on the band), "Hold Back the Rain," a revamped version of "A View to A Kill" with a "Goldfinger"-type theme intro and the opening verses done slowly, Vegas crooner style, before jumping into the normal tempo.

Then there was "Election Day" by Arcadia - the side project singer Simon LeBon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor did in the mid-80s while bassist John Taylor and ex-guitarist Andy Taylor enjoyed the much more commercially successful Power Station. A lot of concertgoers looked puzzled when the song was played, but it was actually a minor hit.

LeBon was sick and John Taylor didn't seem to be into the performance as much as usual (except for "Planet Earth" at the end), so it detracted a bit from the usual high energy vibe.

I wish they'd choose another song from the covers disc "Thank You" besides Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines" too. Since I've seen them about 18 times over 20 years, I really didn't mind the omission of "Hungry Like the Wolf" from the setlist, but I'm sure quite a few ladies were upset.

More angry were people watching the big screens from the terrace section. The inept cameraman focused solely on LeBon all night, leaving John, Nick and Roger devotees to either use their binoculars or watch The Simon Show (not a great thing this evening as he went to the side of the drum riser between songs to hack phlem).

It's still hard not to miss the amazing guitar playing and backing vocals of original Andy Taylor, who was part of the reunion and comeback album "Astronaut." Veteran session player Dom Brown is an able replacement. But since he's been touring with Duran for a year or so now, he should be far more mobile on stage.

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