Legend is Alive and Kicking

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Legend is alive and kicking Apr 19 2004

By Emma Brady, The Birmingham Post

They may have greyed slightly around the temples, but last night Duran Duran proved they are still Wild Boys at heart during an emotional homecoming gig.

The screaming girls, now women, returned in their thousands to see Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and the Taylors - Andy, John and Roger - reunited after nearly 20 years in the pop wilderness.

Despite a distinctly average performance at the NEC in December 2000 - with just three of the original members - this was the first Duran Duran gig at this arena since their Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984.

But this time the Brummie boys did not disappoint the faithful, giving them a rare chance to revisit their youth and schoolgirl crushes.

Opening an impressive two-hour set with a new track, Sunrise, seemed a slightly odd move, but it still brought the fans to their feet.

It was clear, however, that the crowd had come to hear the hits they had sung at school discos.

The New Romantic anthems followed thick and fast, with Hungry Like The Wolf, Is There Something I Should Know and Union of the Snake - all sung, by everyone, with as much verve and passion as they did in the 80s.

Surprisingly these songs have stood the test of time, and as seen during the Brits in February, Duran Duran can still play - with no evidence of amnesia or arthritis setting in just yet.

A Psycho-inspired shower scene featuring a young Liz Hurley and shot by Nick Rhodes provided a stunning backdrop to a passionate performance of the Bond theme A View to a Kill.

A welcome breather followed with a beautiful version of Come Undone, before some heavy, Oasis-inspired riffs signalled another new track, What Happens Tomorrow.

Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, the two biggest pin-ups in the band's hey-day, still deliver inspiring performances with overwhelming confidence.

Back then boys wanted to be them and girls wanted to kiss them; they were the reason bands were formed, rather than through hyped-up talent shows like Pop Idol and Fame Academy.

Earlier, arty tracks including an eerie rendition of The Chauffeur were an unexpected inclusion to the set, but for the masses the best was yet to come.

Planet Earth, Save A Prayer, Notorious and The Reflex all prompted some true pop star posturing from Le Bon, but that only added to the nostalgic atmosphere.

Unlike many of their lesser rivals and some of today's supposed stars, the boys proved you could provide a dramatic performance without the aid of pyrotechnics or scantily-clad dancers. After a punchy, almost punk-like, performance of Wild Boys , the band slipped away - only to return for a blistering encore.

What followed was the pure pop genius of Girls on Film and Rio and the images of Le Bon in a linen suit standing on a yacht will be forever etched in our memories.

I just hope we don't have to wait another 20 years for these Brummie heroes to come home again. Fantastic.

(thank you to Mel for this)