Bass-driven Duran Duran proves band is still hungry

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Bass-driven Duran Duran proves band is still hungry

By David Lindquist
david.lindquist@indystar.com
July 25, 2005

Although Duran Duran is remembered by some as a visual entity more than a musical one, that hindsight lacks clarity.

The reunited band played a comprehensive and engaging concert Sunday at the Murat Theatre, where the skills of John Taylor were more than enough to carry the show.

If every heartthrob act or MTV sensation had Taylor on bass guitar, David Cassidy and Nick Lachey might be destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Duran Duran is no lock for enshrinement, but don't blame Taylor if the British quintet doesn't make it.

He follows the active and never plodding examples of his disco heroes, and Duran Duran's arrangements always provide him room to move.

"Planet Earth," the third song in a two-hour show, featured bass as a melodic anchor while guitarist Andy Taylor (no relation) devoted the entire song to a single-line solo.

Two songs later, "New Religion" relied on John to propel the early-'80s gritty Gotham vibe as influenced by Lou Reed, Blondie and Fab Five Freddy.

Taylor's only poor choice Sunday was to wear white socks with black leather pants.

Vocalist Simon LeBon walked onstage in a white dinner jacket and a sparkling eagle belt buckle. Still relishing the frontman role, he sang every note with ease. With less corniness in his stage demeanor, today's Duran Duran could be truly dangerous.

"Taste the Summer," from 2004 album "Astronaut," moved swiftly enough to be a hit next to the work of the Killers or Franz Ferdinand, present-day descendents of LeBon and Co.

Keyboard player Nick Rhodes dominated "The Chauffeur" and "Save a Prayer" -- two emotive oldies that dispel the notion that this group was all style and no substance.

Despite spurring a fanatical response among the audience of 2,000, "The Reflex" was a rare moment in which the band resembled an outdated curiosity. As a souvenir of the want-it-all '80s, the song crumbled under the weight of too much New Wave ambition.

Courtesy Indianapolis Star

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