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Duran Duran robust and rugged at Center Stage concert

Duran-Duran_2011

(L-R) Roger Taylor, Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor

How many things have been in your life for 30 years?

Barely any, since most Duran Duran fans were verging on tween-hood when the band broke in all its frilly New Wave “Planet Earth” glory.

So it’s true that for most die-hard Duranies – and they are legion – their love of Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor is more than a phase.

Phases don’t turn grown women, many whom have passed their adoration of the band onto the next generation in their families, into hyperventilating teenyboppers at the sight of now-50-year-old men.

Phases also don’t cause many of these same women to abandon any sense of reason and drive across multiple state lines just to spend 90 minutes in the same room as their idols.

But, much like Parrotheads count down to summers with margaritas and Jimmy Buffett and Rolling Stones worshippers cross their fingers that Mick and Keith will pull it together one more time, Duranies (and yes, some of them are male, too) patiently wait for the occasional road trips by their boys – not necessarily to re-live the past, but because the band still matters to them.

The recent release of “All You Need is Now,” Duran’s 13th album and easily their most cohesive work since 1993’s “The Wedding Album,” pushed the original quartet, plus Dom Brown in guitarist Andy Taylor’s old spot, into the tour zone, mostly in small venues that have sold out in minutes (and real minutes, not Charlie Sheen minutes).

At Monday’s stop at Center Stage, which holds about 1,000, Duran Duran played an impressively solid set that was musically crisp, playfully loose and stocked with a stellar set list.

Opening with the fantastic futuristic title track from “Now,” the band continued with new material with “Being Followed,” a tense pop song featuring John Taylor’s racing bass lines that are the heartbeat of Duran Duran’s sound.

While LeBon isn’t always the most robust live singer – his voice tends to veer into whininess – on Monday, as on the band’s recent TV talk show appearances, he sounded terrific.

Whether crooning “Leave a Light On,” an aching new ballad that swells with regret and exhales with redemption, or re-enacting his video spins during a record-perfect rendition of “The Reflex,” LeBon’s voice soared. He even hit the high notes on “Ordinary World,” perhaps the band’s loveliest song, despite – or, maybe, because of – its melancholic overtones.Duran2

Funny enough, for a group that was both adored and reviled for its affinity for fashion, exotic videos and makeup, the Duran Duran of now is a well-aged rock band whose focus is strictly music.

Sure, Rhodes, the resident style buff, was noticeable for his dapper suit and omnipresent eyeliner, and John Taylor started the show wearing a jacket and tie (soon abandoned). But a mere three light towers provided all of the onstage flash and any visual distractions came not from superficial multimedia, but from LeBon, who engaged in his charming pigeon-toed prowling and artsy hand-waving throughout the 90-minute show.

And anyone scoffing at the notion of Duran Duran being considered a rock band obviously didn’t witness Monday’s muscular performance of “Notorious,” anchored by John Taylor’s dirty funk bass, and the surprise appearance of “White Lines,” the Grandmaster Flash song that the band covered years ago and performed with a vicious, searing bite.

After escalating the already inferno-level of energy in the room with the new “Girl Panic,” which sounds like classic Duran Duran with its infusion of percussion, the band tunneled back to 1981 for the rugged “Careless Memories” and, during the encore, “Girls on Film.”

In the middle of the song, LeBon incorporated some lyrics from Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” which snuggled into the “Girls” groove quite well – a perfect melding of classic and new.

Duran Duran has provided 30 years of memories, and clearly, the band isn’t about ready to stop creating them.

Center Stage set list

All You Need is Now

Being Followed

Planet Earth

Hungry Like the Wolf

Notorious

Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)

Leave a Light On

The Reflex

Ordinary World

White Lines

Girl Panic

Careless Memories

(Reach Up For The) Sunrise

Rio

ENCORE

A View to a Kill

Girls on Film

7 comments Add your comment

Jenn in NH

April 5th, 2011
7:08 pm

I was lucky enough to have caught their show a few nights prior @ Foxwoods Casino in CT (long time Duranie but my very 1st show) and they proved to me that they not only are back but honestly they never left! We got a whole different set list than what they did in Atlanta (we didn’t get Rio, White Lines and View to a KIll BUT we got The Chauffer which was just Simon and Nick for 1/2 the song.. AMAZING). Your review was so dead on and so true! Their new music is right up there with their old stuff. How many bands/performers out there can say they’ve had CD’s in 30 decades? So glad to have DD back on the road and wth killer new music!! Thanks for an amazing review!!!

Lisa Barber

April 5th, 2011
7:17 pm

Count me in as one of those who traveled from Florida (4 hours) for this show and it was worth every minute. THANK YOU for posting this review that is so honest, dead on and positive. It’s refreshing that someone sees not only us Duranies (that’s one “N” btw) for what we are and our love for the band but also what a great band they are musically! DURANIES ROCK ON!

JJ

April 5th, 2011
7:21 pm

Great concert last night & accurate review. Glad they are back in great form!!!

Melissa Oakley

April 5th, 2011
9:50 pm

I was there and drove 3 1/2 hours from Tennessee. Long time Duranie…1st concert. John and Roger were spot on!

Melissa Ruggieri

April 6th, 2011
2:28 pm

Yikes! You’re right. I’m going to get my fan club membership card revoked for that!

stephanie petty

April 6th, 2011
9:08 pm

They are still the best and I think even better now. Amazing as always.

Ed

April 9th, 2011
11:15 pm

I totally missed the show. In fact, I didn’t know it was happening until the night of. So bummed. Thanks, Google Alerts.