Duran Duran, SECC, Glasgow
By David Pollock
Published: 20 December 2005
It's interesting to note how the announcement of Take That's reunion has been met with softened opinions from those who derided them as the acme of soulless formula at the time of their first incarnation. Now a decade of Boyzone, Westlife and so forth has seemingly led people to grudgingly re-evaluate that they weren't all that bad in the first place.
Following a similar path of reasoning, the two decades or so since Duran Duran enjoyed their first flush of success has seen them actively embraced as crucial contributors to the lineage of British pop music, having once been derided for their fashionably manufactured image and unashamedly chart-tailored music.
Yet the quintet was crucially formed by its members - rather than a record company - in their native Birmingham, taking inspiration from the then-popular post-punk and New Romantic scenes. Moreover, the fact that they were responsible for a large number of fine pop singles, which proved to be particularly enduring, mean that this live experience is so much more than a nostalgia roadshow.
That 40-something mothers and their 20-something daughters can remember the key lyrics with such a degree of accuracy and swoon over Simon Le Bon as he promises to "add a little sex to the mixture" before "Come Undone" tells its own story as to the band's lasting pan-generational appeal. In fact, Duran Duran - despite their continuing tendency towards mullets - mostly still make acceptable sex symbols.
Much of the weaker material from their recent comeback album, Astronaut, is decidedly less futuristic than the classic vintage. Yet a willingness to leave no key song from their lengthy career unplayed during the two-and-a-half-hour set is at least an assurance that everyone's favourite will be played. And each version is energetic and loyal to the original.
Such versatility lends itself to off-kilter ballads - such as "Ordinary World", "Save a Prayer" and the sexually charged "Skin Trade" - and a version of "Notorious" that jacks up the tempo for the last hour. Then there is "Rio", the perfect soundtrack to however many work Christmas parties were happening here.
While certainly laboured in its less universally known moments, this was still an entertaining gig, which proved that - while good pop music might be a zeitgeist-riding accident - great pop manages to endure.
Earls Court, London, SW5 (0870 903 9033); tomorrow and Thursday
3 Stars out of Five
Courtesy The Independent