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Duran Duran leaves Phoenix crowd hungry for more

Theresa Cano
The Arizona Republic

Brit pop group Duran Duran set up shop at Celebrity Theatre on Friday night to a sold-out, energized crowd of mostly thirty-somethings who were primed and pumped up to revisit their days of rubber bracelets and acid washed jeans.

The ‘80s version of The Fab Five entered to a barrage of paparazzi-like flashes of light as they smoothly sailed into the set opener ‘A View To A Kill.' The 25th anniversary tour is the first time the original lineup of Simon LeBon on lead vocals, Nick Rhodes on keyboards, John Taylor on bass, Roger Taylor on drums and Andy Taylor on guitar (none of whom are related), have played together in 18 years.

This lengthy span of time in no way hindered the band's chemistry or musical symmetry. They often could be seen smiling at one another and just enjoying the moment.

While LeBon struggled a bit on vocals (seemed as though he was battling some sort of cold or virus), the band sounded tight. It must be noted that even though LeBon's pipes weren't always in top form during the night, his cool meter was still off the charts after all these years. He swaggered about the stage with undeniable confidence and the screaming fans ate it up. Swaying his hips, jumping about the stage or straightening the collar on his white blazer … he was the perfect mix of ‘80s cockiness and playfulness all rolled up into one.

Even after all these years John and Simon still seem to be the favorites as they received the loudest reactions from the frenzied crowd while Nick, Roger and Andy got their fair share ear numbing screams as well.

The band stuck mostly to their earlier work gunning through hits such as "The Reflex," "Girls on Film" and "Planet Earth" as if they were back in their ‘80s heyday. "Wild Boys" and "Save A Prayer" also drew crazed reactions. Work from the group's most recent releases "Pop Trash" and "Medazzaland" was ignored.

The sweeping ballads "Come Undone" and "Ordinary World" from their 1993 release known as "The Wedding Album," seemed to stand the test of time the best. LeBon shined on these tunes, hitting notes both low and high, to make these songs soar in the live setting.

Duran Duran unveiled two songs during their set presumably from their forthcoming studio release. "What Happens Tomorrow" is a mid-tempo tune with a bit of a rock edge and lovely pop song called "Beautiful Colors," both of which showcased Andy Taylors' impressive fretwork. The new work seemed to pique the crowd's interest, but it was the abundance of hits that made the $63 ticket price seem not so outrageous.

"Hungry Like the Wolf," "The Relex" and "Notorious" sounded great live and LeBon, despite having to blow his nose and coughing up what was no doubt phlegm repeatedly throughout the show, ran about the stage with the same enthusiasm and charisma as he had in all of the band's lavish music videos.

"Rio" closed out the hour and 40 minute show. One of the main highlights of the night came as LeBon and the crowd belted out the song's line, "You make me feel alive, alive, alive!" it was undeniably evident that feeling was mutual between the crowd and their generation's fab five.

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