Manchester Music Review

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Monday, 19th April 2004
Duran Duran @ MEN Arena

Rebecca Atkins

***** (FIVE STARS)

IT was with great anticipation that I headed off to see the idols of my early teens in the first of their two nights at the M.E.N. Arena on Saturday.

Duran Duran were responsible for my introduction into the world of music - theirs was the first album I ever bought.

Last time they were doing the rounds, shaggy perms and teased hair were de rigueur. But, two decades on, the only wild hair to be seen was that caused by the rain on the way in and that of electric guitarist Andy Taylor who appeared to be doing his best to maintain the eighties penchant for superhold hair spray. Welcome to Planet Earth, Duran Duran style.

Duran Duran retired at the height of their career to enjoy the fruits of their labours, and although they left a generation bereft, they had nothing to prove on this tour as they had a ready-made audience of thirty-to-fifty-somethings desperate to relive their youth and quite happy to do it through their own recollections of that New Romantic era, or through the band's numerous hits.

However, Duran Duran did us proud on Saturday. Song after song captivated us all over again as the years peeled away and, suddenly, we were back in the era of floppy fringes and boys wearing eyeliner.

Although it is nearly 20 years since the band were at the height of their popularity, they are just as good, if not better, than ever.

Simon Le Bon's voice has matured into a richer, more earthy tone and, despite the intervening years, he's lost none of his phwoar factor.

In fact the whole band were fabulous and although it was for their old hits that the crowd went mad, their new material was received just as well.

All told, they seemed to be having just as much fun as we were in the heart of the Republic of Mancunia, as John Taylor charmingly called it.

Duran Duran return to the Manchester Evening News Arena on Wednesday, April 21. Tickets are £27.50 - 40.00 - to book, call 0870 060 1768 or visit the website below.