Duran Duran returns to form, and Fraze crowd loves it

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Duran Duran returns to form, and Fraze crowd loves it

By Ron Rollins

Dayton Daily News

KETTERING | You could see the show, and all it might have meant, in Simon LeBon's face.

Duran Duran's frontman has always gotten due credit for showmanship, but what's really fun about him is the range of genuine-seeming expressions that cross his face during a concert: amazement, curiosity, flirtatiousness, foppery, lechery, concern, surprise, delight and an odd kind of fey amusement that can only go to his sense of just how well things have turned out lately for his band of English lads.

Duran Duran, once the poster boys for all that was pretty good and also very bad about the 1980s, have recently gotten that most rare of pop-cultural gifts: A bona-fide, truly earned second chance. With the delivery of Astronaut, their recent chart-hitter and recent fine return to decent reviews and rock seriousness, they've gotten a new grasp at credibility that even earned them a Live 8 berth on the Rome stage, not a bad thing at all.

On this American tour, Simon and his pals — keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor — play for keeps, realizing the chance they've got.

The crowd that welcomed them to the Fraze Pavilion on Tuesday night for what turned out to be one of the venue's liveliest concerts of the season showed that they clearly bought into Duran Duran's welcome return to form. If anybody in the crowd sat down at all during the two-hour set, it was probably by accident.

The band ran out an exceptionally tight, well-played string of hits, from Notorious to The Reflex to Hungry Like the Wolf, all of which reminded one that they weren't just a good '80s band, but were really a good rock band, period. If they also managed to exalt the crass malevolence of the decade in which they emerged, one has to question at this point whether that can be considered all that much their fault.

I confess: This was the Fraze show I was most looking forward to this summer.

They surely didn't let me down. Nowhere close.

Courtesy Dayton Daily News