Duran Duran still hungry

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Duran Duran still hungry
Crowd of 6,000 relives excesses of the '80s at events center

By Victor Balta
Herald Writer

EVERETT - Call it nostalgia. Call it a time warp. You can even call it desperate, if you really need to.

But, whatever you do, call it fun.

Duran Duran, one of the icons of excess in the decade of decadence that was the 1980s, brought its "Astronaut" tour to Everett on Wednesday night, thrilling a crowd of about 6,000.

Pushing its first original studio album together in nearly 20 years, "Astronaut," the original lineup was dressed as stylishly and singing as optimistically and seductively as ever, sending a fair share of 30- and 40-somethings in the three-quarters-full crowd into a frenzy.

When the lights went down, singer Simon LeBon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, guitarist Andy Taylor, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor - none of whom is related - strolled, single-file, up the middle of the round stage and lined the front of the stage, standing motionless and soaking up the high-pitched cheers from the crowd.

Donning all-black suits - with the exception of Rhodes who opted for a white blazer over black pants - the band kicked off its set with the catchy new single, "(Reach up for the) Sunrise" before LeBon asked, "Hey, is anybody hungry?" and it launched into an old favorite, 1982's "Hungry Like the Wolf."

It was Duran Duran's 18th stop on a 40-date North American tour that started in Puerto Rico on Feb. 8. Wednesday was the third of a four-night stretch that had the quintet in Calgary, Alberta, on Monday and Kelowna, B.C., on Tuesday, and sent it to Portland, Ore.'s, Rose Garden today. The tour is scheduled to end April 13 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

The "Duranies," the band's die-hard fans, were out in force. With some in the crowd sporting big hair, halter tops and denim jackets, Wednesday night made it seem as though the intervening two decades never happened. Still, it's difficult to tell whether that was a nod to the '80s, or a reflection of the decade's styles falling back into favor. The same could be said for the band.

The '80s were a time of overabundance and lavishness, something the band clearly still enjoys, but it isn't content to dwell on the past.

In the almost-too-poppy single, "Sunrise," which sounds at times like a children's sing-along, LeBon sings, "Feel the new day enter your life."

The new album, not to mention the show, is chock-full of such references that allude to the band's maturation over the past 25 years.

But it was Duran Duran's sensual side that made it famous, with music videos and album covers that featured supermodels and the band in exotic locations. And that wasn't in short supply Wednesday night. LeBon did plenty of slithering as the band played its 1983 hit, "Union of the Snake."

Los Angeles modern punk rock band Ima Robot opened the show with a 35-minute set. The band hovered around Southern California for about a decade before its first widely released self-titled album came out in 2003.

The quintet was like a Sex-Pistols-meets-Violent-Femmes type of band that missed its chance when the time was right. Ima Robot is leaving the tour in a few days to return to the studio and start on a follow-up album.

Courtesy Everett Herald