Duran Duran Proves More Than Just a Nostalgia Act

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Duran Duran Proves More Than Just a Nostalgia Act

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Duran Duran
3.5 stars (out of 4)
Chicago Theater
Chicago, Ill.
December 14, 2007

After nearly 30 years, Duran Duran could easily have relied on their classics to wow the sold out crowd at the Chicago Theater. Instead, their set took huge risks by showcasing half the songs on their latest album, Red Carpet Massacre. Opening with “The Valley,” they set the tone of the evening as an adventure in new sounds. Instead of a “Best Of” show with one or two new songs added as an afterthought, Duran proved their staying power by keeping the radio show audience on their feet throughout the entire 80 minute set.

After opening with The Valley ,a song emphasizing their early roots, they followed with the post punk Red Carpet Massacre and the Justin Timberlake co-produced “Nite Runner,” showcasing their resolve to remain a relevant influence across the ages, as evident in the cross generational attendees. By the time they got to old favorites like “Notorious” and “Planet Earth,” it was hard not to feel the energy.

Returning again to RCM with the melodic “Falling Down,” the hip-hop infused “Skin Divers,” and “Tempted”, which showcased the voice that is uniquely Simon LeBon, the crowd was kept on their feet singing and dancing along. This isn’t our Duran Duran of the 80’s and that’s okay. The new songs are very different from the classics but not so different they seem out of place. The risk of playing new music alongside the fan faves that closed the show, “Rio,” “Ordinary World,” “The Reflex,” “A View To A Kill,” a slightly re-worked “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise,” and “Wild Boys” paid off, giving a well balanced performance that left you wanting more and a good thing, since more is yet to come when they tour later in the year. By contrast, Pat Monahan, who you may know as the singer from the band Train, missed the mark by performing on auto pilot. Don’t get me wrong he did all the hit songs like “Meet Virginia” all the while sitting center stage on the tom toms but wasn’t the right opener for the Fab Five.