Music review: Duran Duran jams at Fillmore

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Music review: Duran Duran jams at Fillmore
Aidin Vaziri, Chronicle Pop Music Critic
Thursday, July 9, 2009

The last time Duran Duran headlined a show in the Bay Area, it was for 12,000 people at one of those concrete cattle sheds in the suburbs. On Tuesday, the long-running British pop band made its return to the much more compact Fillmore, inspiring the kind of pandemonium in the city's thirtysomething population not seen since NBC canceled "Will & Grace."

Tickets sold out almost as quickly as they went on sale, some going for as much as $600 through the hands of scalpers.

The members of the group, who without a new album to promote probably figured this quick summer tour would be a good way to cover their foie gras expenses for the year, had no idea what they were in for.

With just about every 2-by-2 piece of floor space defended with fixed ninja poses and vicious glares, from the stage it must have felt a bit like 1984 all over again - if nothing else for the paint-stripping screams elicited by parachute-pants-era classics like "The Wild Boys," "Notorious" and "Save a Prayer."

For its part, Duran Duran - featuring four of its original members plus three backing players - thundered through nearly two hours of hits and could have easily filled two more.

There were some deep album cuts, B-sides and much-dreaded newer tracks along the way, but mainly it was an all-guns-blazing tribute to more than 30 years of giving the charts a much-needed dose of slap-bass, sex and tight white trousers. And that's not counting "The Reflex."

Leader Simon Le Bon sheepishly dedicated the long-forgotten single "Do You Believe in Shame?" to Michael Jackson - whose death must have hit home since they were born two months apart.

But on a day most people spent reminiscing over the memorial service, watching Duran Duran close out the night with a sweaty, exhilarating show designed for the fans had restorative powers - and not just for us.

"This is one of the best places in the world to play," Le Bon marveled by the end of the night. "It isn't just the room. It's you guys!"

courtesy San Francisco Chronicle