Music Review | Duran Duran

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Curtis Schieber

At least one of many rock ’n’ roll moments in Duran Duran’s Monday night performance at Veterans Memorial seemed to combine honesty with showbiz glitz.

During What Happens Tomorrow, from last year’s reunion album, singer Simon LeBon pressed foreheads with bassist John Taylor as they sang, "Nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow." LeBon seemed to find simple pleasure in the company of his old mates as the core five tour for the first time in two decades.

The others seemed to share his enthusiasm — except maybe keyboardist Nick Rhodes, who looked like a distracted air-traffic controller.

Considerable water has flowed under the bridge. The boys are no longer boys, although for 40-somethings they have the looks and energy to bring music to life. The hits — whose topics dwell on night life, sexual intrigue and the enduring qualities of style — rarely sound anachronistic in this band’s hands.

LeBon at first held back, as if he were coolly auditioning to be the next James Bond. Adding energy, he seemed to aspire (unsuccessfully) to be Rod Stewart. But after strutting to center stage a dozen times as if he were on a fashion runway, his rhythm still had sass, and his voice was accurate and youthful.

The band provided little more than arena-style rock meant to prompt an audience singalong. The group created real sonic fever a few times, especially during Wild Boys, Notorious, the new album’s Nice and the encore of Girls on Film.

The packed house was evenly split between a couple of generations; cameras flashed and cell-phone photos were made throughout the show.

The haircut of the night went to Craig Pfunder, lead singer for opening act VHS or Beta. An Asian-American fronting a band from Kentucky performing electronic Francophile pop, he had a vocal style remarkably like Brit sad sack Robert Smith. Pfunder’s hairdo hung over his eyes with a triangular sash straight out of an anime comic.

Courtesy Columbus Dispatch