Still hungry like a wolf
01:00 AM EST on Friday, November 3, 2006
By Rick Massimo
Journal Pop Music Writer
PROVIDENCE Duran Durans show at the Providence Performing Arts Center last night was its second since the departure of guitarist Andy Taylor broke up the original lineup of the British 80s hitmakers for the second time, but it didnt look like theyd suffered much of a blow.
They made it a point to showcase newcomer Dominic Brown by starting right off with Hungry Like the Wolf, giving Brown an extended slide solo in the middle section. And while Brown filled the bill as a player, he also, importantly, didnt succumb to new-guy/hired-hand syndrome, in which the new addition slouches in the corner of the stage and hopes no one notices. Brown stalked the stage and played to the crowd like an old pro the fact that hes played with the band in the past probably helped. He may have occasionally tried a little too hard to fit in with the veterans, but it was better than the opposite, and once he gets some years in hell be fine.
The rest of the band singer Simon LeBon, bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes were in fine shape on the rollicking early material. The sonic juxtaposition of warm, disco-influenced bass, and the icy lockstep precision between the 16th-note patterns of drummer Taylor and Rhodes sequencer was in full effect, with Browns guitar providing funky accents and the occasional rock blast. This was clearest on Hungry Like the Wolf, Planet Earth, and the final encore, Rio. Many bands of Duran Durans vintage have tempo problems, huffing and puffing to try to keep up with their old material, but thanks largely to Roger Taylor they breezed through.
The latter part of the set dragged, with the power balladry of Ordinary World heading into the soft balladry of Save a Prayer, and the heavy Euro-funk of Dance Into the Fire (LeBons voice straining), Notorious and Wild Boys. Unfortunately, when they attempted funk, the subsequent reining in of John Taylors bass to conform with the booming bass drum of Roger Taylor rendered the final result less funky than previous. And the interlude of Sly Stones I Wanna Take You Higher in the middle of Notorious only underlined the problem, although The Reflex benefited from being freed from its dated production.
The band played two songs from 2004s Astronaut, and while What Happens Tomorrow, with its chugging guitar intro, was merely pleasant enough, in Reach Up (For the Sunrise) theyve found a winner that should survive in the set list well beyond this tour.
After their futuristic, slightly decadent New Romantic beginnings, its a little odd to see Duran Duran as earnest, hardworking veterans, dedicating songs to the troops and such. But the musical ingredients and the unique lyrical world view (someone tell me what Union of the Snake is about, please?) are still intact.
Courtesy Providence Journal