Preview: Duran Duran @ Marymoor Park
When music, fashion, and fame collide in a musical act, we sometimes get audio-visual-temporal icons.
Jimi Hendrix is a good example, or early Run-DMC, or Nirvana, or any stars of music turned into posters and sold at the mall. Even their briefest consideration triggers a component rush of snippets and clips, music and images.
Which is the long way to state the obvious, that Duran Duran is so totally '80s.
The massively popular British band behind monster '80s hits "Rio," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "Reflex" plays Marymoor Park Sunday, and you can bet the audience will be mostly mid 30s to early 40somethings dancing hard to rock-edged synthesizer music. Their minds will be sucked back to a magical time when Patrick Nagel art was cool (he did the cover for "Rio" in 1982), trench coats had shoulder pads (check "Rio"'s inside record sleeve), hair was art, drums sounded like they were recorded in an echo chamber, and gloss was boss.
It was a gaudy, glamorous period, but we don't need to get into that. Making fun of the '80s is what the '90s were for, and celebrating the '80s has already been a major theme in aughts-era American pop. We have loved, loathed, and re-loved, and guess what: Some of Duran Duran's music still sounds great.
Spend some time listening to "Sound of Thunder" (that bass line!) or "Tel Aviv" (a sweeping instrumental storm of crying synthesizers) and find Duran Duran is, despite its international fame, oddly underrated, musically. The early stuff perfectly mixes a funky/flashy cocktail with an appealing streak of darkness.
Duran Duran's on a nostalgia trip, for sure, roughly a half-generation removed from the Rolling Stones and the touring that band currently does popularly and oh-so financially successfully, and that's the main draw. But it will be a little weird, because Duran Duran has refused to stay in the '80s. All the hits will be played, probably, but after Duran Duran was so totally '80s, it was so totally '90s, charting in the US with "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone" in 1993 -- shudder at singer Simon Le Bon's satin suits and patent leather capris -- and that era might make an appearance, as well as what it does contemporarily: makes music with members of currently popular UK pop-rock band Kaiser Chiefs, as reported on Duran Duran's oft-updated blog (www.duranduran.com/wordpress).
Fashion plates that they are, Duran Duran's members still dress with queer eyes for straight guys, and whatever era spills out of Marymoor's speakers into the Redmond air, what's on stage will look totally 2009.
Duran Duran plays at 7 p.m. Sunday at Marymoor Park Amphitheatre, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; $49.50-$79.50 (800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com)
Courtesy Seattle Times