Duran Duran still sets hearts aflutter

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Duran Duran still sets hearts aflutter
'80s band still knows how to rock the fans


Speaking from the perspective of a giddy schoolgirl, oh, my God.

Seeing Duran Duran live in concert for the first time made me -- and thousands of other women right around my age -- feel as if we were 13 again for a few hours at WaMu Theater on Wednesday night.

In an interview with the Seattle P-I last week, keyboardist Nick Rhodes said he remembered Seattle for the audience's deafening screams at the band's first concert here in 1984.

Seattle still screams.

Sure, the band did a few songs from its new album, "Red Carpet Massacre," and the songs, while catchy in that clubby Timbaland-produced kind of way, were really just appetizers for a crowd that was "Hungry Like the Wolf."

When they sang that song and "Planet Earth" right after, we all knew why we were here. When women started doing that '80s move -- you know the one, the dance Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo did in "Reality Bites" -- it was as if we suspended our disbelief and let go, fully enjoying a band that captured our transition to teen life.

Despite being 20 years past the hits that kept them on permanent rotation on MTV and Top 40 radio stations, members of the Birmingham, England-based band have, for the most part, retained their boyish good looks and, even more, they know how to deliver a good show. Duran Duran mixed just enough new material with a liberal dose of hits.

Frontman Simon Le Bon can still swing his hips and gyrate as if he just stepped out of one of the videos that made the band famous. Most important, he still sounds good. Bass guitarist John Taylor, whose smile still has primo swooning power, thoroughly played up his school-locker pinup charm while delivering distinctive bass lines. Rhodes on keyboards was a cool constant, infusing the electro part of the pop rock that gave the band its New Wave aura. And on drums, the fourth member of the lineup that's been together, off and on, for 30 years: Roger Taylor. They were once the Fab Five, but since Andy Taylor left the band, no more.

At Wednesday's show the band delivered signature electronic staples ("All She Wants Is" and "I Don't Want Your Love") and sprinklings of its vast catalog ("Notorious," "The Wild Boys," and "Skin Trade"). But what really seemed to send everyone back to the days of iridescent earrings and upturned collars were classics such as "The Reflex," "Girls on Film," "Save a Prayer" (with Le Bon on acoustic guitar, a rare sight for the usually unencumbered singer) and the encore, "Rio."

I would have traded some of those songs for "Is There Something I Should Know" and "Union of the Snake," but considering the band's discography, I feel lucky we heard so much from its heyday.

I kept flashing back to all the videos and concert footage I've seen of Duran Duran, and its energy is as palpable now as then. There's a line in "A View to a Kill" that mentions "a chance to find a phoenix for the flame," which sums up the band's enduring appeal: It reinvents itself while embracing the music that still draws legions of grown-up but still loyal fans who hang on to that inner 13-year-old.


Courtesy Seattle P.I