What’s great about Duran Duran coming to town is you find out how many of your friends once wanted to marry Simon LeBon.
The messages rolled in as I posted during and after Thursday night’s opener at the Encore Theater. “Marrying Simon LeBon was on my bucket list!” and “I was certain I was going to marry Simon LeBon in the ‘80s” and “It was Simon LeBon, then John Taylor, if Simon didn’t work out.”
Such widespread naivete is the byproduct of early 1980s MTV fame. Duran Duran ruled that network just after its inception. LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor might all be in their 60s now (well, not might — they are), but can still rock to telegenic effect, as they showed in their debut at Wynn Las Vegas.
The band returns Saturday, and again Oct. 30 and 31 for Halloween-themed shows. The guys are filling the room, and fast, though LeBon makes it seems as if its not such a challenge. “Compared to the places we normally play,” he said at the start of Friday’s show, “this seems like a well-appointed bathroom.”
What was reinforced in the Encore lid-lifter was there is so much more to Duran Duran than their days cavorting through “Rio,” “Girls on Film” and “Wild Boys.” The band is a powerhouse, the riffs are rad and the volume is jacked up. There’s little debate that Duran Duran is worthy of its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nod. That induction is coming in November.
The ballads scored, too.”Ordinary World” was a moving dedication to the people of Ukraine. The high-ascending “Save a Prayer” showed LeBon at his finest, a song that caused the crowd to sway.
And I have argued this point with James Bond fans for years: My favorite Bond theme is “A View to a Kill,” with its wild synthesizer and Taylor’s rumbling, low-end bass. They played this during “Live Aid,” kids, and are playing it again. The crowd roared through the “dance into the fire” refrain as if singing to a new Bond song.
And, “Invisible” and “All of You” off the band’s latest release, “Future Past,” showed Duran Duran is not flagging, some 40-plus years after forming.
The band displayed visual splash, of course, LeBon in silver slacks, a bright-green leather jacket and a series of T-shirts (ending with “Union” over a snake, so you are reminded of the title of that hit song). John Taylor is still whippet-thin and effectively tattooed. The platinum-maned Rhodes, especially, has not changed his look over the past 40 years.
As this was a weeknight in VegasVille, many locals turned out in the sold-out audience. Seated around the venue were UFC President Dana White, SPI Entertainment exec Alex Schechter, Vegas bass virtuoso Steve Flora and the ever-rocking Todd Kerns (of Raiding the Rock Vault), who was seated to my right.
Different personality types, for sure. But we stood the whole time, and we all knew the words.
Courtesy Review Journal