New Wave’s ‘wild boys’ now middle-aged men and wilder
By Neil Ray Ramos
Duran Duran returned to Manila recently and proved to fans that they still got what it takes to stir everyone up on their feet and dance.
A major player in what was then known as new wave in the ’80s along with other groups from the United Kingdom like The Culture Club and Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran spawned hits that topped the charts not only in London but in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities across the globe.
It was also about the time that MTV was fast gaining popularity among teenagers whose taste for music had considerably defined the kind of rhythm and beat that became hits on the radio.
The rapidly advancing technology on all fronts, and the globalization of music and fashion had contributed to Duran Duran’s popularity.
The recent visit, which was the second time for the band, was highlighted with what many fans had been waiting for all these years—a concert.
Held at the Araneta Coliseum, the MTV sponsored event, which was also part of the groups’ Red Carpet Massacre World Tour, was a remarkably enjoyable, as the group did everything possible to relive their glory days as rock stars.
From the first number, the crowd saw what they had anticipated as Simon le Bon did the “wild boy” thing on stage that got everyone screaming in delight.
“I heard you really know how to have fun… you wanna have fun?” he shouted as the crowd replied in the affirmative.
Le Bon seemed physically fit to keep his heart beating okay with all the jumping and dancing and singing he was doing all throughout the show. The rest of the group had the same level of energy, playing like the screams were giving them some kind of a natural high.
Performing old and new hits, the crowd nearly went wild, including those that were noticeably a generation or two younger than the band.
Among the more popular songs the band played were “Hungry Like the Wolf” (opening it with the question, “Are you feeling hungry?”), “The Reflex,” “Planet Earth,” “New Religion,” “A View To A Kill” and “Notorious.”
The auditorium reverberated with a mass chorale of sorts as the audience sang along with the band in each of the song performed.
There were a couple of memorable moments. One was when the band was playing “Save A Prayer” during which time Le Bon tried to fool the audience by strumming a guitar—but he was obviously out of sync and the chords he was doing were impossible to make out.
Another was when Le Bon asked the crowd to “smile” saying that, “Nick [Rhodes, keyboardist] was going to take your picture.” Successive bright flashes of light accompanied by continuous clicks like cameras clicking simultaneously introed the groups hit, “Girls on Film.”
Each member also did a spot including the guitarist, the sax player and the sexy black back-up singer. The crowd was somehow a bit quiet when the band played the newer songs, content on giving the group a polite applause. Among the new stuff the band played was “Red Carpet Massacre,” “The Valley,” “Nite Runner” and “Falling Down” (which Le Bon proudly announced as the band’s collaborative effort with their new friend, Justin Timberlake).
Naturally, there was the expected encore. Wisely choosing to end on a high note, the group did “Rio,” an older song from their past album.
When the band finally did their final bow, bassist John Taylor was obviously touched with the continued applause, commenting, “we should come back more often.”