Sunday, August 5, 2012


I'm not quite sure why Duran Duran won't go away, but somehow the band manages to keep packing them into stadiums, and release (and sell) new albums.  This live collection comes from last December, and features the usual hits plus well-received new material.  Hearing the crowd sing along at full volume reminds you just how huge they were back in the MTV age, but there's also recognition for the newer songs, so at least in Manchester, U.K., they remain a vital entity.

Let's give respect where it's due:  The core group is still intact, missing just one Taylor from the originals.  The show they present is not performed by ringers, but by the group themselves, with only modest input from touring musicians, on guitar, percussion, vocals and sax.  New songs are mixed well throughout the set, and when the big ones role in (Hungry Like The Wolf, The Reflex, Rio), there's peak excitement.  Duran Duran, once the absolute kings of image from the video era, known for their jet-setting lifestyle and pictured at every glamorous gathering, are now a high-functioning Legacy Band, as or more legitimate than the rest of their contemporaries.  While the rest of their generation of groups now ply their trade on the casino circuit, the modern equivalent of the Cabaret tour, they still bring their show to arenas.

Oddly, this respectable and hard work makes the music a little more palatable.  Aside from an early interest in Hungry Like The Wolf, which fit well with the synth-pop of the time, Echo & the Bunnymen and the like, I've had no desire to re-examine their material for retro-thrills.  This set presents the better hits (Wild Boys, Notorious), leaving out the simply horrible (Union Of The Snake, anyone?), but as professional as they've become, and as slick as they've always been, I'm not mellowing on my overall opinion.  Also available on DVD and Blu-ray, with bonus songs and interviews.

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