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Duran Duran wraps Chastain season with fizzy show

Duran Duran (from l-r) Roger Taylor, Simon LeBon, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes

Duran Duran (from l-r) Roger Taylor, Simon LeBon, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes

Back in April, Duran Duran sold out the intimate Center Stage within minutes.

 The band’s terrific 13th album, “All You Need is Now,” had recently received its physical release (the iTunes version arrived months earlier) and Duran was soaring on newfound momentum.

 But then came a hitch in plans. Singer Simon LeBon lost his voice and the majority of the band’s summer European tour was axed while he worked with a voice therapist.

 So much for momentum.

 But after a few months of care, LeBon rebounded and he and original bandmates John Taylor, Roger Taylor and Nick Rhodes hit the road last month for a five-week tour.

 Considering the rapid sellout of Duran’s spring gig, it’s really no surprise that Friday’s show – the finale of the season at Chastain Park Amphitheatre – was nearly sold out. Since it was – mercifully – a non-table setup, the floor was stacked with fans who rarely, if ever, sat down during the band’s two-hour concert.

 While this performance wasn’t quite as spirited as their Center Stage appearance, Duran Duran nonetheless dazzled with a set list carefully devised to showcase several new tunes (they do have an album to promote, after all) and the MTV-era classics that still elicit teenybopper-like screaming from women (and men!) decades beyond their own adolescence.

 The band opened with the new “Before the Rain,” a moody, “Chauffeur”-like song that seemed positioned in the leadoff slot to act as a vocal warm-up for LeBon.

 Still a heartthrob at nearly 53, the bearded LeBon took a few songs to start twirling and punching the air – moves that have always counted as dancing for him – but the rest of the guys dove eagerly into “Planet Earth” and a crisp “A View to a Kill.”

 Though Duran Duran is regarded by the uninformed as a superficial video band, they continued to show – as they have for two decades now – that the music is their priority. Their stage production was clean and effectively entertaining, with a trio of video screens broadcasting artsy video of the band and silhouettes of sexy women, and a light show that inflated “The Reflex” and augmented the adrenaline in “Careless Memories.”

 The guys still fulfill the same stylistic posts they have since their inception – Rhodes is androgynously stoic as he works his keyboard wizardry, Roger Taylor is unobtrusive, anchoring the band with his solid rhythms, and John Taylor, the picture of lanky cool whose cheekbones could be seen from the lawn, remains one of the best (and most underrated) bassists currently playing.

 The band also received a live assist from lovely backup singer Anna Ross, fiery percussionist Chastity Ashley and saxophonist Simon Willescroft, whose subtle work colored many Duran songs.

 While LeBon’s voice sounded clear and strong in the first half of the show, unevenness poked through in the second hour.duran2

 The fan favorite “Secret Oktober” pulsed quietly under LeBon’s command, and he reached impressive high notes at the end of “Ordinary World” – perhaps the most beautiful song in Duran Duran’s deep canon. But some hoarseness could be heard in “Hungry Like the Wolf,” which was highlighted by a frenzy of lights, and “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise,” the band’s life-affirming anthem that sparked their reunion (with guitarist Andy Taylor, who has since left again and been replaced by Dom Brown) in 2004.

 Of the new material, the industrial whirring that powered “All You Need is Now” added freshness to the song’s wistful message, while the sinewy “Girl Panic,” with its sublime bass line and vaguely Latin percussion, deserves to be a chart-topper if any radio station would pay attention to it.

 But of course fans want to leave a show humming the familiar, making it perfectly sensible for the band to toss the clomping “Wild Boys” and sunshiny “Rio” into its encore. Because, after all, even the most played-out songs in Duran’s history will prompt that teenybopper screaming every time.

Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene blog

Follow me on Twitter @ajclifestyle

(Here’s a link to the review from the Center Stage show: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-music-scene/2011/04/05/duran-duran-robust-and-rugged-at-center-stage-concert/)

30 comments Add your comment

Godawgs75

October 15th, 2011
9:41 am

I made the mistake of going to see the show and thinking they would play mainly thier 80’s – 90’s music. Thier new music is ok, but I wouldn’t have gone to see them if I knew they were trying to push the new album. Don’t waste your money, by the way there was alot of empty seats last night.

dark30

October 15th, 2011
9:57 am

@Godawgs75, news flash – bands tour because they have new albums to promote. If you want a nostalgia trip, stay at home and listen to your CD collection. I’d rather hear a band try new material then keep playing the same songs we’ve heard a hundred times before.

Flora

October 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Godawgs75, I would have been bummed too. I loved Duran Duran in the 80’s and I think fans like myself would love to hear some of their new songs but, come on no “Girls on Film”, “Save a Prayer”. They were the first concert I ever saw in 1984, eek! ANd why play a Chauffer “like” song play the real thing.
“Wild Boys” ??? really not one of their best, IMOP.

suzanna hoffs

October 15th, 2011
10:17 am

another washed up old 80’s band desperetly still trying to be relevent,hang it up old farts

OH

October 15th, 2011
10:33 am

@Suzanna

Please tell me what music today is worth listening to and people will stop flocking to the 80’s band. I swear that RAP and R&B has finally killed what was left of the music industry.

hokie4life

October 15th, 2011
10:41 am

Thnaks forthe tip GoDawgs75! I was bummed that it was sold out but if they are not playing the old stuff….i’m ok I’ll miss the show!

JeffyW

October 15th, 2011
10:48 am

I took my wife last night and we had a good time. I tried without success for 2 hours to get tickets for their first Atlanta show. When Chastain went on sale, I didn’t even bother, but saw tickets still remained days later, and got a pair. She loves DD and last saw them in Mexico City 19 years ago in a crowd approaching 50,000. It amazed her that she could walk down the side steps and take pictures some 20 feet from her teen year idols. One thing hasn’t changed, the ladies still dress to kill for concerts. There were a few song omissions that did disappoint (Save A Prayer), but it was a good night all the same. Having Anna Ross there was a good idea. In addition to being a great singer, she sexied up the stage a little where the past 50 guys can’t really go any longer. Yes, we arrived in a mini-van, and drove home sober to find the babysitter had things under control. I know what you’re thinking, we do live on the edge….oh yeah.

JP

October 15th, 2011
10:48 am

I was not dissapointed in the band last night I was I dissapointed with the crowd!! Chastain was awful. For die hard fans like myself it’s hard watching people not engaging with the band and just going to the concession stand for beer and talking! I have been a long time fan since their inception. Of course fans want to hear their old songs to feel nostalgic but they do have a new album to promote and the fans who are fans will love it no matter what. Simon was trying his best to get the crowd engaged and moving because all of the NEW fans just do not not get it because they were not around in the hey day of the 80’s!! DD please go to another venue for the “real duranies” who have been with you through the years.

DawnP

October 15th, 2011
11:25 am

Hmm…@suzanna hoffs…weren’t you in the Bangles? lol

EssaRose

October 15th, 2011
11:37 am

I love the new album and I cannot wait to hear the new stuff live again – I saw them this past April in Boston. I know every word, every note, every change, every beat of the new album because I’m a Duran Duran fan.

If you want an 80s nostalgia concert, don’t attend and leave the tickets for people who actually want to see the band no matter what. If you’re a Duran Duran fan, you should support the band and buy their new stuff. It’s good.

JJ

October 15th, 2011
11:41 am

I was at the concert last night. It was a fun show!!!! Nice mix of old and new. So glad they played “The Reflex”. So glad they played Atlanta again. I was at the Center Stage show and had a blast there too. Enjoyed dancing, watching “the boys in the band” and meeting new friends.

Bunnie

October 15th, 2011
11:59 am

Wow. Simon looks really hot with the beard.

What were we talking about?

MC

October 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

I am baffled. Who are you folks? A real fan wants to see them no matter what they play. If you’ve listened to their new album, you’d know they worked really hard to sound the way the fans of old wanted them to. It is a phenomenal album. They played some great old songs that I’ve never had the joy of hearing them play live before – Secret Oktober especially. And their energy and the sound was more than amazing. I’m with JJ – I saw people there who seemed to just want to hang out with their friends. I was never once disappointed with the band just the folks there who seemed to not care. It was worth every penny and I only wished I had been able to see them again every night.

jnww

October 15th, 2011
12:22 pm

The concert lastnight was amazing! If you like classic Duran music, you will love the new album, “All You Need Is Now.” With the exception of the early 80’s when Mtv was making mega bucks off the guys, Duran has since been largely ignored and like you see above, some people want to keep them in that small 80’s space. I don’t think people realize just how talented, innovative and important Duran has been for the music industry over the years. The show is completely worth the money and the new album is really quite brilliant.

Rob

October 15th, 2011
12:24 pm

Why do decent bands keep going to Chastain? It’s always filled with talking season ticket holders who care more about their whole foods chicken and wine filling their heart disease spare tire stomachs. I hope they wreck their Honda Pilots on their way home.

Mike Muir

October 15th, 2011
12:40 pm

Suicidal For Life!!!

Did you Know

October 15th, 2011
12:49 pm

That Duran Duran was formed in the same British city as Black Sabbath. Just goes to show that a gayish band can believe to achieve even if they pale in comparison to the Fathers Of Heavy Metal.

Go Duran Duran. You go girls.

Not Disappointed

October 15th, 2011
2:20 pm

I may not agree with ‘did you know,’ but his comments are funny! I prefer the old music so call me an ‘old fart’ as well. :(

Wheel Watcher

October 15th, 2011
5:12 pm

I had a ball. I love Chastain and I love DD and they sounded fantastic. They inspire me. I wished Nick Rhodes was more visible. Their back up singer was awesome. It didn’t appear to me like DD was just going through the motions. Simon gave the impression he was enjoying the attention from the crowdm and I have to say Chastain is by far and way better than Lakewood or Phillips arena for this type of event. Today’s music sucks in comparison to Duran Duran. It was my first time seeing them and i would definetely go again.

Richard Bagge

October 15th, 2011
6:58 pm

When a band is touring to promote a new album, what I appreciate hearing is seven or eight songs from the new album, interspersed with their classics. I’d much rather Duran play this kind of set list than what one or two of the above commenters are suggesting. As long as they’re still writing and still get record deals, I don’t want them to be a nostalgia act. Good for them!

Julie Cannon

October 15th, 2011
9:27 pm

Perhaps if the recoding industry and media would quit portraying DD as an 80’s band people like dawgfan would not be disappointed when they go to see them perform. Duran Duran have been creating music continuously since the 80’s not just in the 80’s. I agree with those who said if you want to go see an 80’s nostalgia show then don’t go to see them this time. They are still making NEW music and most fans want to hear it. If you consider yourself a DD fan, listen to the new album. It is excellent. Don’t stay stuck with just the 80’s songs. A band who has created so much music shouldn’t play only their songs from one decade. By the way I really enjoyed this show :0)

Robert Trujillo

October 15th, 2011
9:31 pm

@Mike Muir Suicidal for life…NOT! I’m in a better band now (metallica) lol

Shannon Thompson

October 15th, 2011
10:16 pm

I was at last night’s Duran Duran concert and it totally ROCKED! I have been seeing Duran Duran in concert ever since they first played Atlanta in 1984 at the OMNI and last night’s show just proved how enduring this act can be over a span of 30 years. Yes, I can understand the gripes of fans who don’t want to hear the old songs like “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “A View To A Kill”, but these are the band’s signature songs from their heyday, which was the early-1980s. They have to perform some of the classics – there is just no getting around it, so I think the mix of old and new tunes was perfect. Simon LeBon and the rest of the band completely energized the crowd with a strong blend of old and new and I was in the pit seats and the fan enthusiasm was beyond belief and very contagious. I never witnessed anybody sitting down the entire 2 hours – everybody was too busy having a great time and dancing and singing along to the songs! As for the new music, of course,they are promoting a new album – they want people to buy the new album, so naturally there was a heavy focus of the new music. They have done this with every DD concert I have attended. In 1984, they were promoting “Seven And The Ragged Tiger”, which boasted major hits like “The Reflex” and “Union Of The Snake”. All in all, I spent a lot of money on the tickets at Chastain last night and after the performance of the band, it was well worth every penny.

JaCole

October 16th, 2011
1:09 am

Ahhh man, I always miss out on concerts of my Blued Eyed Soul Bands! Their Greatest Hits cd is in rotation on my IPOD. New Moon On Monday and Rio are my favorites.

Gus

October 16th, 2011
10:16 am

Excellent show from one of the best bands of all times. Hugely underrated, with no promotion of their new stuff ( by the way among the best records of the year). If they had a better promotion, they would play Madison Square Garden 3 nights in a row, not just one ( next 25th)…People didn’t know DD was playing on friday, I took a cab going back to hotel and he said wowowo, nobody knew there was a concert here, that’s why there was no taxis awaiting at the end. Few acts can put up a show like this nowadays ( U2, Elton John, Rod Steward are in the same level of greatness). Take it or leave it, Duran Duran still rocks, but kids won’t ever create a new Duranmania…times have changed and they know that. As long as they can keep doing it, who cares what “stupid” radio stations are promoting these days…Bieber, Usher and those puuuuffffffff…they need to learn from POP MASTERS DURAN DURAN on how to make people dance all night long.

Duran Duran Girl

October 16th, 2011
6:05 pm

GUS – YOU ROCK! I couldn’t agree with you more!!! The band was sharp, edgy, entertaining and wonderful. Washed up?? I think NOT!!!! Simon had a couple of missed notes, but for someone who is still recovering, I thought he was brilliant. They are real musicians and their music speaks to you. The “talent” nowadays can’t even come close to their excellence. The new percussionsit, Chastity Ashley, was FABULOUS! The Neon Trees, terrific!! DD played a perfect blend of the old and new music, which spans decades. Their new CD is suberb. I couldn’t wait to see my guys on stage again and I danced the whole time. Chastain was a great venue, just like Center Stage was back in April! Shame on you naysayers!

Jake

October 16th, 2011
9:07 pm

Didn’t see this show, but saw them in St. Augustine, FL the show before. Great show! They played a great set mixing in classics AND new songs. Those who moan and groan about only wanting to hear the older material obviously are not musicians of any sort. Professional musicians change over time just like most of us and the good ones don’t write the same songs over and over. Duran Duran’s new album/CD is really good. Keep an open mind and don’t stay lost in the 80’s.

GoDawgs75

October 17th, 2011
9:27 am

Dark30,
People come to watch shows like these to hear the hits from the 80’s and 90’s. These bands are over, be realistic. But people will come and pay a nice ticket price to hear the old songs they used to play, not the comeback album that will never comeback. All the rest of the 80’s bands I saw were awesome, Duran Duran was a big disappointment. Sorry thier new stuff is ok, but be realistic, half the crowd was sitting during thier new songs because they were not good. Black Sabbath is getting back together, to do a reunion tour, should I go to hear new stuff? Wait a second……they are getting back together to play thier old songs for a tour, not a comeback. Man the real people that are stuck in the 80′ and 90’s are the ones who think Duran Duran is making a comeback.

Cleveland Jen

October 18th, 2011
8:58 pm

Of the 9 times these guys have been to Cleveland in the past 30 years, I’ve seen 5 of the shows and have never been disappointed. Their music is still stylized and relevant.
GoDawgs, maybe you don’t appreciate music being performed by live musicians. The trend of new and popular acts to rely heavily on computerized perfection bothers me. Those are the artists who sound like crap live. This band is still in the grind, on the road, and doing what they love. They’ve been doing this for the last 30 years and as a fan, I don’t want them to stop.

blkshepherd

October 19th, 2011
1:00 pm

Sorry but Chastain Sucks. When I went to see Diana Ross(in Hot as hell Jun 4 2010) It was my first and possibly last time going there. I did not like the set up or the hard horrific seats(crappy metal) for that amount of money.

People were chattering and setting up and hour into the show. Ross would NOT come on stage until Most had sat their butts down and laid out their Thanksgiving feast which was 55mins into the show which was suppose to start at 8pm but the place wasent even half full by 810p

No artist wants to see your backside setting up picnic tables while they are performing. I know I wouldnt start unless everyone was Seated. I doubt many Even paid attention to the show they were so busy stuffing their faces and drinking like it was the Last time they would ever see food or drink.

I enjoyed the show but the audience really tested my nerves. I wont say I will never go back as I will go see diana anywhere she is Near even cheezy Chastain. But Its not a place I would recomend or even Want to Go back too except if Ross returns which I Doubt. It took her Ten Years to get back since her last visit in 2000. Great Show Ross put on though inspite of the Crowd stuffing their faces and chattering.

As for bands not playing old stuff. I agree. Play the old stuff first get it out of the way. then play the New stuff. Remember the OLD stuff is what Got YOu there and Your fans. Lose the Old stuff. Lose your Old fans. Plain and simple.

Madonna and Prince did Phillps doing the same trick new music only. and Both had disgrunted fans after their shows so Now they Put the Old stuff Back in First.