5 stars Nottingham Arena
Tuesday April 13 2004
After two decades of coiffure abuse, drug problems and at least one near-death incident involving one of their trademark yachts, the fact that the original line-up of Duran Duran is back together and standing up is cause for celebration. This, at least, is the logic behind their bizarre introduction, where the original 1980s love bombs stand stage front listening to the screams.
The rebuilt combo look smarter than when they went away. Simon Le Bon has clearly laid off the pies; keyboardist Nick Rhodes is obviously discarded Warhol mannequin while John Taylor looks better than a man has a right to after rehab and marriage to Amanda de Cadenet.
Unusually for a comeback band, they also sound better than they did. Drummer Roger Taylor maintains a thud-bang beat for 120 minutes and diminutive guitarist Andy Taylor plays with restraint and danger, perhaps aided by dressing like an LA hitman.
The set list reflects the unrecognised breadth of their canon, dipping into their eerie side with 1981's sinister The Chauffeur and the instrumental Tiger, Tiger, never played live before. New song I Like Noise is a fantastic funk grind and Beautiful Colours jostles for a place in their line of classy pop singles.
Perhaps most impressively, Le Bon brings a new maturity to songs that were once just about escapism. Save a Prayer's line about a one night stand being "paradise" now sounds more sad than boastful, while Ordinary World (which Le Bon
reveals helped him over the death of a friend) has an emotional wallop not generally associated with a man in tight trousers. The 40-somethings manage to sing Wild Boys without sounding ridiculous and, as a refurbished Rio kicks in, the message is that the Wild Boys are definitely back.