Duran Duran as Sharp as Ever

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Duran Duran as Sharp as Ever

Nick Lewis

Calgary Herald

March 8, 2005

Duran Duran at the Saddledome with opening act Ima Robot on Monday night.

Attendance: About 7,500.

They were one of the first musical acts to play at the three-month-old Saddledome back on Jan. 30, 1984, a day when 9,000 young and avid Duraniacs came to see the band at their apex.

Some 70 million albums and 21 drama-filled years later, the reunited act still managed to draw 7,500, on a school night, no less.

With the opening one-two punch of upbeat new single (Reach Up For The) Sunrise and retro favourite Hungry Like The Wolf, Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor, dressed in black suits and white shirts, worked the crowd into a froth from the start.

With Le Bon's vocals as strong and sharp as they've ever been, and the rest of the band playing like they'd never been apart, the band nailed both songs.

"Good evening, Calgary, wonderful to be in Canada," Le Bon said to the crowd. "We're Duran Duran, here for your pleasure."

He proved that as the band launched into another retro classic, Union of the Snake.

Though a smallish crowd (only half the Saddledome was used), their enthusiasm made you believe it was much larger. People screamed loudly, sang along to the songs, danced in the aisles, flicked lighters, held up placards with the band's name on it (in case they forgot) and took photos with cellphones no one will ever identify.

Duran's reunion, though short on radio and music video play, has been highlighted by the denizens of popular bands that cite them as an influence, including Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, The Dandy Warhols and No Doubt.

While it's not the new material that draws crowds, it sat well next to the music of opening act Ima Robot. The much younger new wave/punk band put on a decent synth-heavy set, keeping the crowd patient for the main event.

The five stylish Brits of Duran Duran rattled off five songs from their latest album Astronaut over the otherwise retro 22-song set list and managed to keep the audience anxious during new material. But it was the classics that killed.

The Chauffeur was haunting, The Reflex was amazing and Save A Prayer sounded as good as it did two decades ago.

"It's been 21 years since we were last here. This next song is for everyone who was here then," said John Taylor before Planet Earth, the band's very first single.

And Duran did what you hope any retro act can do, manage to make the evening feel like 1984, if only for the songs from 1984. They also played Come Undone, I Don't Want Your Love, What Happens Tomorrow, Tiger Tiger, Ordinary World, Notorious and Wild Boys.

The band encored with the Grandmaster Flash cover White Lines and the classics Girls on Film and Rio.

Courtesy Calgary Herald