Duran Duran at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Sept. 30, 2011.
By Don Chareunsy
British band Duran Duran -- with longtime members frontman Simon Le Bon, guitarist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes -- proved that the group who achieved super-stardom in the 1980s hasn’t come undone over the years, performing a 100-minute set that had the mostly-age-30-and-older crowd dancing, singing and waving their arms over their heads and side to side all evening.
Le Bon, a little thicker around the middle these days, still exudes considerable charm and swagger, and his voice is as strong as ever, impressively holding long notes in “Ordinary World” and rapidly repeating words in “The Reflex.” He complimented the “good-looking” and “beautiful” audience throughout the night and early on dropped an F-bomb.
His fashion has adapted to the times, too. Gone are the pastels and white suits of the ’80s, replaced with black jeans, blue-and-black sneakers, a black dress shirt, a sharp maroon blazer and, later, a blue-and-white snakeskin leather shirt. Bon … Simon Le Bon … also is sporting a light beard.
Guitarist Taylor is still a heartthrob, his frame slender and his head full of the signature long hair, although more blond-white now. He also confessed to being a Twitterholic. And Rhodes’ platinum blond ’do, a forerunner to Justin Bieber’s long, windswept bangs, is still intact despite what must be now decades of bleaching. He looks the same more than two decades later! Last night’s band also included guitarist Dom Brown, a saxophonist, another drummer and a supporting singer.
The evening’s set list, performed on an industrial-themed stage with video screens in the background and four Jabbawockeez-type masks above the stage for projecting images: “Before the Rain,” “Planet Earth,” “All You Need Is Now” (on this journalist’s iPod because it was offered for free on iTunes), “A View to a Kill” (Bon … Simon Le Bon), “Blame the Machines,” “Come Undone,” “Safe,” “The Reflex” (unsurprisingly, one of the big crowd-pleasers of the night), “Girl Panic,” “Tiger Tiger,” “Careless Memories,” “Leave a Light On” (their new single, in which Le Bon strums an acoustic guitar), “Ordinary World” (a favorite from college), “Notorious” (followed by Le Bon introducing the band), “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise.”
The spirited, high-energy encore featured “Wild Boys” (in which John Taylor stripped down to a white T-shirt with the word “delete”) and “Rio.” Alas, no “Save a Prayer” (another all-time favorite), “Union of the Snake,” “Girls on Film,” “New Moon on Monday” or songs by Arcadia (“The Flame”) and The Power Station (“Some Like It Hot”), but the concert was still completely satisfying.
Thanks to Erik Kabik for his Vegas DeLuxe photo gallery that captured the excitement and pleasure of listening to a band who still knows how to please. Neon Trees opened for Duran Duran, and the Provo, Utah band’s 35-minute set included “Animal,” their biggest hit to date. Since “Animal,” the group has released the singles “1983,” “Your Surrender” and “Sins of My Youth.”
Don Chareunsy is editor of VegasDeLuxe.com and arts and entertainment editor of LasVegasSun.com.