(Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, Canada - October 22nd, 2011)
Back in the day, Duran Duran personified new wave for much of the mainstream audience. Their reputation was built through music videos, which accentuated their fashion-model looks and glamorous sense of style. The clever videos also helped Duran Duran's rise to popularity between 1982 and 1984.
Sure their fall from grace was equally fast, but after the group's line-up had fragmented, they eventually pulled off a surprising comeback in the early '90s as a sophisticated soft rock trio. And then, as if suddenly realizing they still had a baying fan base out there, four out of the original band members (sans Andy Taylor) got back together a few years ago and launched a series of harder albums; and lucrative comeback tours!
And so tonight, as the All You Need Is Now Tour 2011 brought the wild boys to Canada, the 5000+ casino crowd were all Tweeting up on the DuranLive screens behind the stage prior to their arrival on stage. And then, come 9.15pm, the house lights went down, the screams went up, and Duran Duran took to the stage.
Lit under a white hot spot only, the still-darkened stage together with billowing dry ice eerily silhouetted Simon LeBon like some form of vampire movie star! But with the applause raised to a new level of expectancy for a cracking, fast-paced classic song to get us in the mood, the boys slid into the slow new track, 'Before The Rain'! Not what anyone expected, and in truth somewhat of a downer to let loose first. Bathed in red, it's a nice enough song, but not what was wanted.
The throbbing bass of John Taylor unleashes one of the true highlights of the night, the always brilliant-to-hear 'Planet Earth,' before the bearded LeBon and company bring us their James Bond song, 'A View To A Kill.' Complete with dancing girls images (ala Bond) on the video screens, LeBon then addresses the audience, "Canada sounds good tonight! It's just amazing to be here. And you're just across the water from America. Well, good evening, Windsor. This is a new song about the one commodity you need all the time." The industrial-sounding 'All You Need Is Now' is then played, before LeBon notes that the following song is for all the shy boys in the audience - 'Girl Panic!' Inclusive of some great percussion drumming from the fiery red head Chastity Ashley, the song is another stand-out on the night.
"How you doing out there," LeBon inquires. "We're gonna play something for the girls now, as that last song was obviously for the boys." They then flow into the beautiful 'Come Undone.' Lit by five lime green spots, and a live video feed of the audience on the screens, it is certainly a sight to behold. Introducing backing singer Anna, we then get the disco-themed 'Safe,' before LeBon jumps into the front row! He then picks on a guy to sing the opening words to one of their songs. Those opening (so-called) words turn out to be 'Nunununah, Nunununah' and lead us into the best energized song of the night, 'The Reflex.'
Complete with a row of their faces high above them that digitally had them singing along to their own song (which was both freaky weird and very cool at the same time), John then asks everyone to clap along to 'The Man Who Stole a Leopard.' A creepy song that comes with its own video news feed of the actual truthful event, LeBon, now jacketless, then introduces another new song; the old school-sounding 'Blame The Machines.' The pounding 'Is There Something I Should Know' is next, featuring a wonderful sax solo, after which John encourages everyone to Tweet during the next song. A weird instrumental, where all but LeBon stay on the stage for four minutes, the audience's Tweets do indeed light up the screens behind the band, as requested.
LeBon then bounces back out, and together with his new shirt brings us their new single, 'Leave A Light On.' Having asked the audience to call their local radio stations and request it; to save him from having to do so, the slow song isn't classic Duran but it's nice enough. He then mentions The President's speech yesterday about bringing all the troops back from Iraq before Christmas, and goes on to dedicate 'Ordinary World' to all those people who have lost people in the conflict.
"John," LeBon asks, "how are we going to get the people up and dancing tonight?" "Whatever we do, it's got to be funky," he replies, as the band then strike up the delicious opening funk-laden chords to 'Notorious.' And they are right as the crowd rises to their collective feet for it. After he introduces the band one by one, the loudest screams of devotion are shown to be for John! After LeBon then leads us into the chant of 'play that f**king bass John' (over and over!), he has a pretty female front row audience member come up on stage and introduce him! Which actually works out well, as she knows what she should say to appease him! "Let's get the BPM's up, Rog,", John suggests to his drummer, before LeBon wonders aloud if anybody is hungry?!
After a rousing, loud and heavy 'Hungry Like The Wolf,' they then bring us an equally energetic, '(Reach Up for The) Sunrise,' before heading off stage at shows end. Coming back just two minutes later, LeBon notes that all the applause makes him feel like he's "noise bathing!" John, now with his own jacket off, then leads us into 'Wild Boys,' which mysteriously (and for my money needlessly) includes a Frankie Goes To Hollywood mid-section break of 'Relax'! Bringing the show to a close with the grand 'Rio,' I can report, hand on heart, that Duran Duran are as good now as they ever were! They musically sound incredibly tight, LeBon's vocals are still on the mark; or close to it, and their stage persona is vibrant, polished, and (still) seemingly effortless.
Review by: Russell A. Trunk
Photos by: Roger Lauzon
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