Thursday, November 19, 2009

Duran Duran live DVD review

Duran Duran
Hammersmith Live ’82!

By the time Duran Duran played three nights at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in December ‘82, the young New Romantic band had already made it big at home, where two albums and a half dozen singles reached the top 10.

Here in America, the following year would be a big one for the Fab Five, ushering in a second British Invasion. This short, previously unreleased concert (just 55-minutes) from the Rio tour provides a fun glimpse into the early hysteria. Teenage female fans shriek so loudly they nearly drown out exuberant vocalist Simon Le Bon, who looks as if he’s leading an aerobics class on “Planet Earth.” The setlist is evenly divided between the two albums, while the musicians’ performances are satisfactory.

Although the era’s technological limitations should be taken into account, the DVD and accompanying live CD contain sound mixes that are muddy in spots; the picture is shadowy. Both could’ve been cleaned up better. The booklet reproduces the world tour program itinerary and pages devoted to band members citing their favorite films, books and food.

Bonus DVD material includes six Rio-era music videos including genre classics like the title track, “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Save a Prayer” and R-rated “The Chauffeur.” There’s also a pair of seldom seen BBC TV clips from “Top of the Pops,” which diehard enthusiasts will relish.

(Side note: the label concurrently put out a fine deluxe reissue of Rio in mini-hardback book form, featuring rare demos, B-sides and remixes.)

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