(Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI - November 15th, 2003)
Taking to the stage, one-by-one, all quiet, all focused, the newly-reformed Duran Duran slowly walk to the front edge and line-up underneath the bare white spotlight. As instrumental music still plays behind them, their collective faces don't flinch, don't blink an eye as the hordes of ecstatic fans bay their names. Rather like the guards outside Buckingham Palace in London, England, their gazes don't dare waver.
And then, as if suddenly being awoken from a deep trance-like state, the guys (all surprisingly trim) peel off to their designated stage areas, grab their instruments and prepare to amaze and confound their gathering for the next 2 hours.
'Dirty Dennis' is the first song of the night which is closely followed by the wonderful 'Planet Earth' and 'Hungry Like The Wolf'. "This is our first time in Royal Oak," lead singer Simon LeBon notes to the audience. "And it's a great place to be on a Saturday night," he adds to the roar of the crowd.
As bassist John Taylor musically limbers up, 'Come Undone' is brought to the fore next, followed by a new song 'What Happens Tomorrow' (which Simon states is "... about not giving up hope") and a funkier version of 'New Religion' where both Simon and John sweetly harmonize. All this time and Nick Rhodes on keyboards, Andy Taylor on guitar and non-related Roger Taylor spin their musical webs without the need for such an incessant spotlight that catches the front two.
Oldie but goldie, the playful 'Is There Something I Should Know' is followed by another new song entitled 'Virus', before 'Waiting For The Nightboat,' and the new-classic 'Ordinary World'. It's at the start of this particular song that Simon makes the statement that if you've not seen 'Bowling For Columbine' that you should and that what we all need in this world is global peace.
Up next is 'Save A Prayer' where a sweat-ridden LeBon continues to bounce around the stage like a caged tiger, unlike the seemingly manacled Andy and John Taylor. But, it's the next song that became the highlight of the night and suddenly lifted en mass of voices to an unexpected, and unprecedented level: 'Notorious'. Mind you, the 'We Are Family' song break in-between was easily the cheesiest thing that I've witnessed in a long, long time (the back beats had the same rhythm!), but regardless the song rocked the Royal Oak Music Theatre off it's foundations.
Heading into the encore and 'Girls On Film' was next up, where grabbing a tambourine, Simon introduces the band one-by-one. A quite chilling version of 'Careless Memory' comes next followed by a guitar-pounding rendition of 'Wild Boys' brings the set to a close.
"Detroit is always a fantastic place for us guys" Simon admits as they come back out and immediately launch into a buoyant 'Reflex' from the 1983 Seven and the Ragged Tiger album before ambling into the final song of the night, 'Rio'. And, Simon, Detroit loves you guys too!
Review and Photographs by Russell A. Trunk