Duran Duran - Brisbane Entertainment Centre, March 17.
THIRTY years ago Duran Duran was the most talked-about pop band on the planet. The group had its first international No 1 in Australia, recorded much of its Seven and the Ragged Tiger album in Sydney and the band's relationship with Australian video director Russell Mulcahy helped revolutionise music television.
At the start of its Australian tour in Brisbane, Duran Duran was given an ovation before a note was played. Opening the show with the maudlin Before the Rain, the band wasted no time in taking proceedings up a gear with a magnificent Planet Earth and the Bond theme, A View to a Kill.
Since the departure of guitarist Andy Taylor, Duran Duran is now a four-piece, augmented by three players.
The set was a balanced mix of new tracks and old hits.
Front man Simon Le Bon, who had lost his voice last year, was in superb form.
Never once feeling like a nostalgia act, Duran Duran played like it's still the biggest band in the world.
Touring on the back of the superb Mark Ronson-produced album All You Need is Now, the band presented new work including The Man Who Stole a Leopard, Safe (In the Heat of the Moment) and Girl Panic!, accompanied by videos of supermodels acting out Duran Duran rock-star fantasies.
Be warned if you sit in the front rows: Le Bon has a habit of taking to the floor and inviting audience participation.
Come Undone, The Reflex, Is There Something I Should Know? and Notorious were all standouts from the back catalogue.
A cover of Grandmaster Melle Mel's White Lines (Don't Do It) was a curio, while the early single Careless Memory, with its mesh of electric guitar, bass and Nick Rhodes's synth, was searing.
Maybe it's the loss of Taylor, the stellar new material or something more intangible, but this rebooted Duran Duran is in another league to the band that toured in 2003.
The encore included a near 10-minute Girls on Film, followed by Rio. The old hits are so much a part of modern pop's DNA that it's thrilling to hear them played robustly and at volume.
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, tonight; Adelaide Entertainment Centre tomorrow; Sandalford Estate, Western Australia, Saturday; Sydney Entertainment Centre, March 27; Tempus Two Winery, NSW, March 31.
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, March 17.
Courtesy The Australian