Duran Duran Brings Drama, Drama To Mohegan

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Duran Duran Brings Drama, Drama To Mohegan Sun Show
Courant Rock Critic

April 5 2005

Rock concerts are, on a certain level, studies in emotional manipulation. Bands with a flair for showmanship employ their skills to whip otherwise normal people into a frenzy of cheers and even tears over what is basically a collection of notes and chords.

Duran Duran excels at this.

One of the biggest '80s bands there was put on a skillful display of delayed gratification and wish fulfillment Sunday night at Mohegan Sun casino, with a set of tunes spanning the band's career.

The delayed gratification started as soon as the lights went out. Looming in the dark, the immense stage on the floor of Mohegan Sun Arena was outlined with small lights. Whoops went up from the crowd, and strobes started to flash at the back of the stage. After a minute or two, you could see five silhouettes near the front of the stage, and the cheering got louder. After another minute or two of the audience screaming as if it were still 1984, the lights came up and the music kicked in.

The wish-fulfillment part came as the band sprinkled its biggest songs throughout a set that also included lesser-known tunes and new numbers from Duran Duran's 2004 album, "Astronaut." Fans didn't have to wait too long for the hits: after opening with "Sunrise," singer Simon LeBon inquired of the crowd, "Is anybody hungry?"

Thus came "Hungry Like the Wolf" in all its lusty glory. The band performed with seasoned skill, and most the songs sounded fresh (despite some sonic muddiness common to shows in cavernous arenas), even after 20 years. LeBon's pelvic thrusts on "Come Undone" were a bit much, but his voice hasn't lost any of its insolent British charm.

With 21 songs on the set list (and Andy Taylor sporting nearly as many guitars), a few newer songs and instrumental interludes in the middle had the audience drifting a bit. But the crowd got right back into it on "A View to a Kill," and the band ratcheted up the fever with the oversized ballad "Ordinary World."

"Notorious" included a brief segue into Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," and "Girls on Film," one of the encore songs, took a short detour into "Groove Is in the Heart." LeBon named the band members during "Girls on Film" before venturing into the audience in search of an attractive woman to introduce him. With the band and the audience now properly acquainted, Duran Duran finished with another of its hits, the Top 10 (in 1983) song "Rio."

Courtesy Hartford Courant