Report: Duran Duran Live in NYC

 

At Madison Square
Garden on Oct. 25, the
iconic New Wave group was on a creative roll.

 

Text/photos by David Chiu

Duran Duran’s recent performance at New
York’s Madison
Square Garden
was a testament to the group’s ongoing popularity and longevity since the
self-titled debut album from 1981. Whereas some of their contemporaries from
the early ‘80s have come and gone, Duran Duran have matured from their
photogenic boy band years to being an influence in terms music, art and
fashion. One can trace the band’s impact on several of today’s electronic pop
and alternative rock acts such as Scissor Sisters.

 

The tour stop in New
York this past Tuesday seemed appropriate as the
group – singer Simone Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and
drummer Roger Taylor — is currently on a creative roll. Duran Duran’s recent
album, All You Need is Now, is
probably their strongest album in years as its sound recalls the group’s first
three albums – Duran Duran, Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger – for its arty electronic music, while
it still retains Duran Duran’s pop and dance sensibilities.

 

And because the music from All You Need is Now is a throwback to Duran Duran’s early past, the
new songs (“All You Need is Now,” “Leave a Light On,” and “Blame and the
Machines”) fit perfectly with the familiar hits during their Garden show, with
stylish imagery and graphics projected on screens behind the band. Thus, one
didn’t feel impatient or exasperated when Duran Duran launched into a song from
All You Need is Now – whereas perhaps
for other acts breaking in a new song, it would have been tempting to say, “Get
to the hit!”

 

 

Of course, the cheers from the audience, which was a cross
section of both young and old fans, grew a bit louder when they recognized
their favorites: the rollicking “Is There Something I Should Know”; the
pulsating “Hungry Like the Wolf”; the moving ballad “Ordinary World”: and the
funky “Notorious.” Other hits included from Duran Duran’s glory period were
“The Reflex,” “A View to a Kill,” and “The Wild Boys.”

 

The band also delved deep in their catalog with the
aggressive rocker “Careless Memories,” from the Duran Duran album, and the jazzy instrumental “Tiger Tiger,” from Seven and the Ragged Tiger. The show
closed with a performance of “Rio” with the
famous Patrick Nagel album cover art shown in the background.

 

 

The New York
show was also special because of two guest appearances. Ana Matronic from
Scissor Sisters reprised her rap singing from the recent album for the very
disco-influenced “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment).” Then later, Mark Ronson, the
producer who’s helmed All You Need is Now, performed with the band on “Girl Panic!”, another fine track from the
recent album.

 

As for the band members, they’ve lost none of their touch as
far as their musicianship is concerned:  Nick Rhodes’ keyboard work is so integral to
the Duran Duran sound as is John Taylor’s groove-inspired bass work; Roger
Taylor’s solid drumming – especially when one thinks about his hiatus from the
mid ‘80s to the early ‘00s – is what this band needed; and Simon Le Bon’s
vocals sounds ageless.

 

If their Madison Square Garden performance and the recent
album are any indications, Duran Duran still maintain the stylish exuberance
and electricity that fans have come to expect from them for these many years.

 

Set List:

 

Before the Rain

Planet Earth

A View to a Kill

All You Need is Now

Blame the Machines

Come Undone

Safe (In the Heat of the Moment) (with Ana Matronic)

The Reflex

The Man Who Stole a Leopard

Girl Panic! (with Mark
Ronson
)

Is There Something I Should Know

Tiger Tiger

Careless Memories

Leave a Light On

Ordinary World

Notorious

Hungry Like the Wolf

(Reach Up For The) Sunrise

Encore:

The Wild Boys

Rio

 

 

 

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