Duran Duran: Durable goods
By Sean Piccoli
Pop Music Writer
Middle age does not look unfashionable on the members of Duran Duran, who kicked off a U.S. tour on Friday night with a robust show in Sunrise.
The tour unites the original posh five who set the '80s atwitter with kicky songs and moussed hair. The old bandmates dress up more discreetly now and, to judge by the performance, regard their disco-rocking music as something more than period revival fodder. Duran Duran turned in a wide-ranging, 24-song set that sailed well past the '80s, and well past the building's usual 11 p.m. closing time.
Along the way the band lost very few people in a crowd of 9,000 that was by no means pre-sold on this spectacle: The Office Depot Center's seats held enough teenagers and twentysomethings to suggest an amused curiosity about these style hounds from another era.
Duran Duran did not bank on nostalgia for all of the show's highlights. Songs from a new album, Astronaut, got pride of place in the set list: The evening's tuneful opener, (Reach up for the) Sunrise, was as attention-getting as anything Duran Duran might have pulled from its back
The title track's "space trip" metaphor was too extended for its own good, and What Happens Tomorrow, introduced by singer Simon Le Bon as "a song about hope," had the rote dynamics of a power ballad. But Nice was a persuasive love song, and the electronic shimmer of Chains proved Duran Duran can adapt as well as Madonna to current sounds.
Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and the unrelated Taylors -- John on bass, Roger on drums and Andy on guitar -- also went at the older songs with a sense of purpose, as if to re-establish their currency. Le Bon and backing vocalist Anna Ross negotiated the curvy harmonies of Union of the Snake easily, and tour saxophonist Andy Hamilton gave the song an exotic tweak, blowing atonal Asiatic scales.
Duran Duran revisited its past thoroughly, playing Hungry Like the Wolf, The Reflex, Notorious, Ordinary World, Girls on Film and other hits. But a B-side impulse was at work here, too, in lesser-knownsongs such as Nightboat, Planet Earth and Careless Memory -- the latter illustrated on-screen with dashing anime of the English quintet. An energetic cover tune, Grandmaster Flash's White Lines, was one more reason to acknowledge Duran Duran, onetime pop phenomenon, as an actual band.
Courtesy South Florida Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)